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Author: 



Hirst, Francis Wrigley 



Title: 



The six panics and other 
essays 

Place: 

London 

Date: 

1913 



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119 
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Hirst, Francis Wrigley, 1873- 1^55. 

The six panics and other essays, by F. W. Hirst, 
don, Methuen & co., 1913. 

vii. 271 p. 19J«". 



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THE SIX PANICS 



THE SIX PANICS 

AND OTHER ESSAYS 



BY 



F. W. HIRST 



» . 
• 



» «.- . 



METHUEN & GO. LTD. 

36 ESSEX STREET W.G. 

LONDON 

1913 



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First Published in 1915 




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PREFACE 



j\/TY object in writing -The Six Panics' 
has been not so much to prevent the 

recurrence of false alarms in the sensational 
press— for no reasonable man can hope to do 
that— as to prevent the abominable waste of 
public money in which a successful panic 
always ends. It is all-important that the 
governing classes and the leading statesmen, 
^who are trustees for the nation and for the 
public funds, should feel ashamed of the 
hoax which has now been practised upon 
them so often. If this little book serves to 
supply them with a defensive armour against 
the arrows of future panic-mongers, I shall 
be very well satisfied. In some of the shorter 
essays I have touched upon other matters 
which have interested me in the last few years. 



( i 






VI 



THE SIX PANICS 



I 



Certain portions have already appeared in the 

Economist or elsewhere, but I thought it 

worth while to take this opportunity of 

revising and collecting them. 

F. W. HIRST 
London, July 191 3 



CONTENTS 

ON PANICS IN GENERAL . . . i 

THE FIRST PANIC, 1847-1848 . 

THE SECOND PANIC, 1851-1853 . ... 

THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 . 

THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 . 

THE FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC . 

THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 

PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE IN NAVAL WARFARE 

THE BALKAN WAR ..... 

ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS AND THEIR AUTHORITY 

IS POLITICAL CONSISTENCY A VIRTUE? . 

JOHN BRIGHT AND HIS PLACE IN POLITICS . 

FRIEDRICH LIST AND THE GERMAN ZOLLVEREIN 

INSULAR FREE TRADE—MR. BALFOUR'S DOUBTS 
ANXIETIES RESOLVED 

TIME AND SPEED ..... 

FOREIGN TRAVEL .... 

A PLEA FOR GARDENS .... 

PRIVATE LUXURY AND PUBLIC WASTE 

fit 



PAGE 
I 

8 

. II 

20 

. 41 

S9 
. 103 

119 

• 133 

142 

• 165 
171 

. 199 

AND 

210 

. 222 

231 

. 241 

247 



I 



Ill^ 



THE SIX PANICS 

ON PANICS IN GENERAL 

DR. JOHNSON defines "panick" as a sudden 
fright without cause. The ancient Greeks 
attributed such alarms to the action of the God Pan, 
calling them Pan's frights, or simply Panics, whence 
our early scholars transplanted the word to English 
soil. Phidippides on his famous run from Athens to 
Sparta met Pan, who complained (so Herodotus tells 
us) that his worship was neglected by the Athenians, 
though he had often done them a good turn, and 
would gladly do them another in the future. The 
hint was taken, and according to another legend the 
god made good his word at Marathon by causing 
a panic among the Persians. 

In a city, or in an army, panic may grow out of a 
mere rumour. It is part of the psychology of crowds 
that their emotions and fears can easily be aroused 
and quickly wrought upon. But a nation is not a 
crowd. To evoke a national panic in a modern state 



J 



•I 



3 ON PANICS IN GENERAL 

is a very difficult operation. An army may fling down 
Its arms and run away en masse. A false cry of 
fire in a crowded meeting or theatre may cause a 
general rush to the doors. But a whole nation cannot 
be fooled by a false report. You cannot imagine all 
the towns and villages of England, Ireland, Scotland, 
and Wales reduced to a state of terror by a stage 
whisper, even though it ran through the whole of the 
newspaper press. If Gladstone and Bright and 
General Booth had combined with Stead and the 
Jingoes in 1884, something worthy of Pan might have 
ensued. But under less favourable circumstances 
the semblance of a panic may be created even in an 
educated country like ours — enough, let us say, 
to increase the sale of newspapers, guns and stores, 
battleships or flying machines. What the news- 
papers can do, and what they cannot do, in this field 
is worth ascertaining and describing. The modern 
newspaper panic is a phenomenon of which every 
intelligent reader must be more or less conscious. 
Men still alive can remember the last of the French 
Invasion panics, and so are able to compare the 
impressions made on the public mind and public 
policy in the early sixties with those produced by the 
German Invasion panics which have flourished since 
the Boer War. One thing not generally noticed 
certainly deserves attention. The fuss and fury of 
of our yellow press, though it thrill smart society 



ON PANICS IN GENERAL 3 

in London, though it may sway the minds and 
policy of Ministers, produces no proportionate effect 
on the individual citizen. Blood-curdling reports and 
rumours, backed by the gloomiest forecasts of veteran 
soldiers and sailors, do not destroy our national com- 
posure. On the Continent during the Morocco crisis 
and again during the Balkan War, when Austria and 
Russia stood for weeks at daggers-drawn, thousands 
of quiet and sensible people in France, Germany, and 
Austria drew their deposits out of the banks and 
hoarded gold. Traders reduced their commitments, 
and people near the frontier made preparations to 
remove their households and belongings into the 
interior. But in this little island, even at times when 
— to judge from speeches and pamphlets and leading 
articles — invasion, starvation, and utter destruction 
were imminent, the Englishman remained in his 
home perfectly calm and inactive. The panic swept 
in large headlines across his breakfast-table ; but he 
went in to business as if no calamity were impending. 
The idea of drawing out his deposits or preparing to 
bolt from the coast to the interior never entered his 
mind. He persisted in buying and selling and specu- 
lating as if the French or German menace were 
negligible. He never thought of suspending busi- 
ness relations with the countries whose armies and 
navies were about to be launched in deadly earnest 
against the British Empire. In short, his actions 




_l 




A\ 



i| ON PANICS IN GENERAL 

proved that he did not believe all that he was told. 
This is worth remembering ; for we are always over- 
apt to confuse the minds and opinions of our people 
with the nonsense they have to read. Perhaps the 
foundation of English panics like those I am to 
describe is laid in the love of excitement and in the 
natural pugnacity of our countrymen rather than in 
any propensity to unreasoning fear ; for no race, I 
believe, is more plentifully endowed than ours with 
courage and common sense. 

Judged by this test of individual action the last 
real panic in England came in 1866 after the fall 
of Overend & Co. The popular instinct of self- 
preservation took the form of a run on the banks. 
Every failure increased the desire for cash and 
weakened credit. Bagehot watched the symptoms 
of the malady and prescribed the remedy. "A 
panic," he said, " is a species of neuralgia, and ac- 
cording to the rules of science you must not starve 
it" Therefore when the public "goes for gold" those 
who hold the cash reserves must advance freely on 
good securities. The armour-plate interests would 
say by false analogy that the way to cure a naval 
panic is to advance Dreadnoughts freely on credit. 

But America is the classical home of commercial 
and financial panics. Since 1907 Americans have 
come to regard a collapse of credit with a suspension 
of cash payments by the banks as an inseparable 



ON PANICS IN GENERAL J 

sequel to every great outburst of prosperity and 
speculation. "In Wall Street," writes Mr. Van 
Antwerp, a lettered and ingenious member of the 
New York Stock Exchange, " the question is ever 
in mind as to the next panic. The last one left its 
sting ; we are interested now in knowing about the 
future. Have we learned how to avoid these diffi- 
culties ? May we hope to diminish their force and 
mitigate their terrors? May we rely upon the 
superior organisation of business and the greater 
quantity and quality of capital to soften the effect of 
the next shock ? We may lull ourselves into a coma 
of fancied security as we reflect upon experience and 
its expensive lessons, but we deceive ourselves if we 
think that we shall finally arrive at a point where these 
convulsions shall cease." Our author consoles him- 
self and his countrymen with the flattering paradox 
of a Frenchman : " the riches of nations can be 
measured by the violence of the crises they expe- 
rience." A people with a healthy, vigorous, mobile 
life, we are told, is bound to be impatient. From 
time to time it must advance too fast. Over-confi- 
dence leads to over-speculation. At last credit 
topples over, and society rushes into the banks for 
national bank-notes, greenbacks, silver certificates, 
or cash of any description. Seen through Wall 
Street spectacles, "a panic is a state of mind. It 
cannot be regulated by statute law nor preached 



m 



I 




♦• 




li 



6 ON PANICS IN GENERAL 

down by press or pulpit. At such times suspicion, 
apprehension and alarm take possession ; reflection 
and sobriety are crowded out ; men do and say irra- 
tional and unreasoning things ; incidents trifling in 
themselves are exaggerated into undue propor- 
tions ; all kinds of difliculties are conjured into the 
imagination." One might pause to criticise this 
theory. American finance is a tempting theme. But 
I must not digress any further. I will merely ex- 
press my own conviction that Bagehot would have 
prescribed even for an American panic ; for I cannot 
think that a civilised country, however prosperous, 
need tolerate or regard as inevitable periodic suspen- 
sions of cash payments by its banks or Trust 
Companies. 

The Six Panics of which this essay treats covered 
a period of sixty-six years ; but there was a long 
interval of twenty-three years between the Third and 
the Fourth, which must be attributed in large part 
to Cobden's scathing exposure of the first three, with 
the restraining influence exerted over public opinion 
and government after his death by Gladstone and 
Bright, as well as by the moderate and genuinely 
conservative views of Lord Salisbury. Why their 
successors have pandered to the guilty passion for 
naval and military extravagance is one of the political 
puzzles of our time. If men of light and leading 
and resolution can find the answer in these pages 



ON PANICS IN GENERAL 7 

they will be on the road to a remedy. For the 
modern problem of armaments, most perplexing and 
menacing of all the evils which humanity imposes 
on itself, we can offer no simple or single-handed 
solution. But no one who labours to reveal the 
hidden interests, the secret motives, the unseen causes, 
the invisible wires and all the stage machinery of 
what has well been called "The Great Illusion," 
need fear that his labour will go unrewarded. He 
is the happiest of all courtiers — the courtier of 
Truth, a sovereign who requires no servility and 
dispenses no patronage. 



I! 



I 



I, 



THE FIRST PANIC, 1847-1848 

THIS panic was begun late in the year 1847 by 
the unauthorised publication in the Times of a 
letter from the aged Duke of Wellington. It was 
addressed to a brother officer, and afforded " painful 
evidence of enfeebled powers." Two years previously 
Lord Palmerston, after declaring (falsely) that the 
French fleet was equal to ours, had gone on to say that 
the Channel is no longer a barrier : " Steam navigation 
has rendered that which was before impassable by a 
military force nothing more than a river passable by 
a steam bridge." The Duke improved on this in his 
letter as follows: "I am accustomed to the con- 
sideration of these questions, and have examined and 
reconnoitred over and over again, the whole coast 
from the North Foreland, by Dover, Folkestone 
Beachy Head, Brighton, Arundel to Selsey Bill, near 
Portsmouth ; and I say that excepting immediately 
under the fire of Dover Castle, there is not a spot 
on the coast, from the North Foreland to Selsey 
Bill, on which infantry might not be thrown on 

8 



THE FIRST PANIC, 1847-1848 9 

shore at any time of tide with any wind and in 
any weather." 

These categorical statements were accepted as 
gospel by people who had no means of knowing the 
truth, though from the pen of any other person than 
the great Duke they would have provoked con- 
temptuous incredulity. In December and January 
the Duke of Wellington's alarm was echoed widely 
in the newspapers, not always by wholly disinterested 
parties. "At the end of 1847," said Cobden in the 
House of Commons (February 26, 1849), "we had 
a panic among us, and we were then persuaded by 
Mr. Pigou the gunpowder maker that the French 
were actually coming to attack us." The Panic ended 
dramatically. Lord John Russell was Chancellor of 
the Exchequer, and the Budget he produced on 
February 18, 1848, raised the Income Tax from 
sevenpence to a shilling in the pound, in order to 
increase armaments and to reorganise the militia in 
accordance with the Duke of Wellington's advice. 
When this stiff addition to taxation came into view, 
in association with preparations against the danger 
of invasion, the danger seemed to diminish and the 
panic abated. Public meetings of protest were called. 
Men of all parties joined to denounce the proposal, 
and to demand instead a reduction of public expendi- 
ture. Petitions poured in, until on February 28th 
Lord John Russell withdrew his Budget and left the 



W 



iwi|| 



10 THE FIRST PANIC, 1847-1848 

Income Tax at sevenpence. A touch of burlesque, 
as Cobden remarks, was imparted to the closing 
scene of the first invasion panic by the abdication 
and flight from France of Louis Philippe, the dread 
Monarch who was to have invaded and conquered 
England. A Committee of the House of Commons 
was appointed to recommend reductions in military 
and naval expenditure, and the Queen's Speech of 
1849 (ignoring the revolutionary tumults and wars 
which convulsed the Continent) contained a gratifying 
announcement : " the present aspect of affairs has 
enabled me to make large reductions on the estimates 
of last year." 



THE SECOND PANIC, 1851-1853 

npHE reductions thus drama^tically begun con- 

1 tinued till 1852. "During this time," wrote 

Cobden, " with the exception of the usual letters from 

Admiral Napier ^ in the Times on the state of the 

Navy and a volume published at the close of 1850 by 

Sir Francis Head on ' The Defenceless State of the 

Nation/ which was calculated to throw ridicule on 

the subject by its exaggerations, little was said about 

a French invasion. Even the Great Duke's letter 

was for a time forgotten. But only for a time : the 

occasion alone was wanting to revive the panic with 

increased violence. The country had been rapidly 

advancing to that state of prosperity in which its 

timidity and pugnacity seem equally susceptible of 

excitement." The coup d'etat of December 2, 1851, 

and the re-election of Louis Napoleon as President 

of the Republic, furnished the occasion. It was now 

discovered that Louis Philippe, the ogre of the first 

panic, had been a peaceful quietist, a complete con- 

' The Lord Charles Beresford of those days. 



h ii 



II 



\ 



i 



( 



12 THE SECOND PANIC, 1851-1853 

trast to Napoleon, around whose terrifying personality 
the new alarms gathered. Throughout December 
and January in preparation for the meeting of 
Parliament on February 3rd the London news- 
papers teemed with invectives against the French 
President and the French people. The cries of 
invasion were renewed, with declarations of our 
defenceless condition. " At the same time there was 
the usual eruption of pamphlets, written chiefly by 
military and naval officers, containing projects for 
every variety of defensive armament." In the debate 
on the Address (February 3, 1852) the Earl of Derby 
remarked on the madness of accusing a neighbouring 
nation of hostile intentions, vituperating the head of 
their executive, and at the same time declaring 
publicly how easily an invasion could be carried 
out. Simultaneously the Prime Minister, Lord John 
Russell, remarked in the House of Commons : 
" Really, to hear or read some of the letters, some 
of the language used by some portion of the press, 
one would imagine that these two great nations, so 
wealthy, so similar in enlightenment, were going to 
butcher one another, merely to try what would be 
the effect of percussion caps and needle guns." 
Nevertheless — although in the three previous years 
French naval strength whether measured by men, by 
ships in commission, or by expenditure, had been 
less than in any three previous years since 184c 



THE SECOND PANIC, 1851-1853 13 

both Derby and Russell spoke of increased prepara- 
tion with a view to make invasion impossible. On 
February i6th Russell introduced a Bill for the 
enlargement of the militia, but was defeated on an 
amendment moved by Palmerston to enlarge its 
scope. Derby then came into power, and after 
asserting that "our naval forces were never in a 
better or more effective condition," proceeded to 
introduce a Militia Bill which received Palmerston's 
approval. To carry such a Bill it was necessary to 
spread belief in a sudden surprise attack on a large 
scale. Accordingly Palmerston once more assured 
the House of Commons that steam had bridged the 
Channel, and that fifty or sixty thousand men could 
be transported without notice from Cherbourg to our 
shores in a single night. This absurd hypothesis, as 
Cobden remarks, was indispensable to afford standing 
ground for the Second Panic. A leading general 
pointed out that " the sudden arrival of a French 
army in this metropolis was simply an impossibility." 
A leading admiral reminded the House that Palmer- 
ston had not told them how this army was to be 
transported across the Channel in face of a superior 
navy: "It would take fifty or sixty vessels to 
embark those men he spoke of as being ready for 
action at Cherbourg, and it would take as many 
more vessels to protect them in the Channel. With 
a fleet of thirty steamers in the Channel he (Admiral 






M 



.! 



14 THE SECOND PANIC, 1851-1853 

Berkeley) would defy any enemy to attempt a 
surprise, and should like to see them attempt to dis- 
embark on our shores in the face of such a force." ^ 
But Palmerston with characteristic effrontery persisted 
that "the very ship despatched to convey to this 
country intelligence of the threatened armament 
would probably not reach our shores much sooner 
than the hostile expedition." At that time (when 
steam had bridged the Channel !) our superiority in 
merchant steamers over France was as twenty to one, 
our superiority in sailing vessels being only five to 
one. But in spite of the plain facts there was 
enough panic in the air of London to float Palmer- 
ston's theory of a nocturnal invasion ; and the Militia 
Bill (unaccompanied this time by additions to the 
Income Tax) passed through all its stages. The 
Militia Bill, indeed, was unpopular. Eight hundred 
petitions were presented against it and not one in its 
favour. It was opposed by most of the members re- 
presenting the great centres of industry. The panic 
was a newspaper panic, which worked on the House of 
Commons and the Ministry through London Society 
— one of the first but by no means the last of its 
kind. Old Joseph Hume, the veteran economist, re- 
marked in one of the debates : " Our present panics 
are not due as in times past to the old women, but to 
our having too many clubs about London, containing 

» Hansard, vol. 120, pp. 1 136-7. 



THE SECOND PANIC, 1851-1853 15 

so many half-pay officers, who have nothing to do 
but to look about for themselves and their friends 
These are the people who write to the newspapers 
anxious to bring grist to the mill somehow or other " 
After the passing of the Militia Bill Pariiament was 
dissolved (July i, 1852), and before the new Parlia- 
ment assembled there occurred two imposing events 
the death of the Duke of Wellington in September.' 
and m November i\,^ pUbiscite by which Prince Louis 
Napoleon was chosen Emperor of the French. The 
former filled the public mind with recollections of the 
glories and horrors of the old wars. By the latter 
says Cobden," the traditional terror connected with 
the name of Bonaparte was revived; people began 
again to talk of invasion, and before Christmas the 
alarmists had more complete possession of the field 
than at any previous time."' 

At the beginning of December, 1852. Napoleon 
accepted the title of Emperor. In announcing 
this m the Lords, Lord Malmesbury made a most 
sensible and pacific speech, but the Government pro- 
posed at the same time in the Commons an addition 
Of 5,000 seamen and 1,500 marines to the navy in 
order to " man the Channel with a larger force " The 
Secretary of the Admiralty asked for the money as a 

eloglenitlir ^'""'*' ^""""^""y '°' '^^^ describes with equal 
eloquence the unscrupulous ambition of Napoleon the rwMrT 




I > 



: 'ri 



I 

i 



i6 THE SECOND PANIC, 1851-1853 



THE SECOND PANIC, 1851-1853 17 



I* <■ 



vote of confidence in the Executive, pretending that 
his Government was " in the possession of secret and 
important intelligence." On this use of the confi- 
dence trick Cobden remarks that it involved a double 
fallacy : (i) That there was or could be any such 
secret and important intelligence ; and (2) That if 
there were the mischief of referring to it was less than 
the mischief of disclosing it The proposed increase 
was carried without a division, but when Disraeli, the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, went from expenditure 
to taxation, his Budget was defeated and the Peelite 
administration of Lord Aberdeen came into office. 
The panic, which had begun, as we have seen, in 
1851, lasted into the summer of 1853, unallayed 
either by our own increase of armaments or by the 
failure of the French Government to respond. There 
was a large output of pamphlets with such titles as 
" The Peril of Portsmouth," and the newspaper press 
was busy in a fashion very familiar to us now. In 
Cobden's words : — 

"The alarm was constantly stimulated by startling para- 
graphs in the newspapers. One day the French army at 
Rome was reported to be chafing and dissatisfied, because it 
could not share in the invasion of England and the sack of 
London : the next, there were whispered revelations of a 
secret plan, divulged by General Changarnier, for invading 
England and seizing the metropolis (which he publicly con- 
tradicted) : then we were told of a plot for securmg a naval 
station in the West Indies : next, the French Government had 
sent an order for steam frigates to Messrs. Napier, of Glasgow 



(which was contradicted on the authority of those gentlemen) : 
there was a cry of alarm at the apparition of a French ship- 
of-war at Dover, which, it afterwards turned out, had been 
driven in by stress of weather : then there were small French 
vessels of war seen moving about the Isle of Wight, to the 
surprise of some of our authorities, who should have known 
that the French Government are bound by convention to send 
cruisers into the Channel, to see that the fisheries regulations 
are observed by their fishermen ; and then came the old story 
of French vessels being seen taking soundings in our waters, 
though, as everybody knows, the most perfect charts of the 
Channel, published under the authority of the Admiralty, may 
be purchased for a few shillings." 

As a matter of fact the French army had been 
reduced by 50,000 men, and French naval expen- 
diture had been unusually low — less than 3J millions 
sterling— for three years running — 1850-1852. In 
only one of the previous sixteen years had France so 
few ships in commission as in the year 185 1, when 
this second panic commenced. The Times^ then at the 
zenith of its glory, and far more powerful than all the 
other London papers put together, took a prominent 
part in misleading the public ; but at length its viru- 
lent attacks on Napoleon produced uneasiness among 
the merchants and bankers of the City, who convened 
a meeting " to express their deep concern at witness- 
ing the endeavours continually made to create and 
perpetuate feelings of mistrust, ill-will and hostility 
between the inhabitants of the two great nations of 
England and France." They even despatched a 



I 






\ \ 



\ 



I' < 



i8 THE SECOND PANIC, 1851-1853 

deputation of leading citizens to carry a friendly 
address to the French Emperor. 

A dramatic turn of events converted the whole 
fashionable world of England from a French Panic 
to a French Alliance. Those who, in the spring of 
1853, most furiously denounced the French Emperor, 
b^an to court him in the autumn, and clamorously 
urged that the fleet and army, which had been pre- 
paring to resist a French invasion of England, should 
join in an Anglo-French invasion of Russia. To 
mark the monstrous inconsistency of public feeling 
and the levity of those who manufactured it, Cobden 
supposed an invalid to have been ordered for the 
benefit of his health to make the voyage to Australia 
and back :-^ 

"He left England in the month of February or March. 
The Militia was preparing for duty; the coasts and dock- 
yards were being fortified ; the navy, army, and artillery were 
all in course of augmentation ; inspectors of artillery and 
cavalry were reported to be busy on the southern coasts ; 
deputations from railway companies, it was said, had been 
waiting on the Admiralty and Ordnance, to explain how 
rapidly the commissariat and military stores could be trans- 
ported from the Tower to Dover or Portsmouth; and the 
latest paragraph of news from the Continent was that our 
neighbours, on the other side of the Channel, were prac- 
tising the embarkation and disembarkation of troops by night. 
He left home amidst all these alarms and preparations for a 
French invasion. After an absence of four or five months, 
during which time he had no opportunity of hearing more 
recent news from Europe, he steps on shore at Liverpool, 



THE SECOND PANIC, 1851-1853 19 

and the first newspaper he sees informs him that the English 
and French fleets are lying side by side in Besika Bay. An 
impending naval engagement between the two powers is 
naturally the idea that first occurs to him ; but, glancing at 
the leading article of the journal, he learns that England and 
France have entered into an alliance, and that they are on 
the eve of commencing a sanguinary war against Russia ! " 

So ended the Second Panic. 



if 



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THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 21 



I 



THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 

IT has been seen how quickly the directors of 
military and naval sentiment in England diverted 
fashion from France to Russia, and how readily a 
noisy and unthinking section of the public, which 
they are accustomed to dupe, embraced the French 
invader as a brother in arms. Those who exist for 
war, and those who thrive by war, always insist on 
having some formidable enemy who is on the point 
of attacking us in time of peace. The function of 
the Foreign Office on their view is to maintain friction 
with a suitable Power ; but if an opportunity offers, 
as it did in 1853-4, they are ready in a moment to sur- 
render the potential enemy for the sake of a real war, 
with a tacit understanding that old animosities may 
be resumed for armament purposes on the conclusion 
of peace. In the spring of 1856, at the end of the 
Crimean War, a grand naval review was held at Spit- 
head. On May 8, 1856, Lord Palmerston and the Earl 
of Derby boasted that no country had ever possessed 
so mighty an armament " We had," said Palmerston, 

ao 



"at the beginning of the war a total force of 212 
ships, and at the end of the war we have 590." The 
increase was chiefly in gunboats and mortar-vessels, 
which were described by the First Lord of the 
Admiralty as not only useful in attack but " a valu- 
able and effective armament for protecting our shores 
from assault." For the moment large ships were out 
of fashion. We commenced the Crimean War, as 
Captain Scobell observed, with large ships ; " and it 
was only after two years' experience that we dis- 
covered the gunboat tribe. If some time ago "— 
referring to Admiral Napier's fiasco— "we had had 
this magnificent fleet of gunboats, something would 
have been done in the Baltic which would have been 
remembered for centuries." « The Russian fleet in 
the Black Sea which had been used to justify naval 
expenditure in 1852, was now sunk. Nevertheless 
the First Lord, on May 18, 1857, introduced navy 
estimates higher than ever before in time of peace, 
justifying them by reference to the French navy, 
which he said was nearly equal to ours in line-of- 
battle ships and frigates. They had of the first 
built and building 40 to our 42, and of the second 
37 to our 42. The First Lord disparaged the gun- 
boats, etc., of which he had made so much a year 
before, and omitted 9 screw block-ships which were 
among the most effective of our large vessels. The 
' See Hansard, vol. 142, pp. 1423 and 1425. 



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22 THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 

French official list of battleships was 31, as furnished 
by the Minister of Marine. Sir Charles Napier, un- 
daunted by his failure before Cronstadt, accepted the 
Admiralty figures, ignored block-ships and gunboats, 
and renewed the old scare. " France is equal to us in 
ships, but superior in the means of manning them. 
She has an army of 3CX),ooo or 400,000 men, and we 
have but 20,000 in Great Britain. What would the 
consequence be if war were to spring up? Why, 
there would be an invasion immediately." And he 
declared a little later that we were " no longer the 
first naval nation in the world." ' In view of the 
extent to which the writings and popular speeches 
of Admiral Sir Charles Napier contributed to the 
creation of invasion panics Cobden makes the follow- 
ing remarks, which, with a little change, might be 
applied to some of our contemporary heroes : — 

"On his return to the House of Commons, after being 
superseded in the command of the Baltic fleet, during the 
Crimean War, he became possessed by a morbid apprehension, 
amounting almost to a stale of monomania, respecting the 
threatening attitude of France and our insufficient means of 
defence. It was not peculiar to his case, for it is common 
to all who share his delusion about the danger of an invasion, 
that he always lost sight of all that was already done, and 
called for something else as the sole means of security. 
Thus, he demanded more line-of-battle ships, and ignored 
the existence of the new force of small vessels ; then he 
called for a Channel fleet, whilst he threw contempt on the 

' Hansard, vol. 145, pp, 434 and 770. 



THE THIRD PANIC. 1859-1861 



23 



block-ships ; when the Channel fleet was completed, he 
declared that the crews were in mutiny from mismanage- 
ment ; when the number of line-of-battle ships was so great 
as to extort from him expressions of satisfaction, he asked 
what was the use of ships without seamen ; when the 
number of seamen voted for our royal navy exceeded that 
of the entire sea-going population of France, he called aloud 
for a reserve ; and when he had been triumphant in all his 
demands, he reverted to the opinion, which he had been 
one of the first to proclaim, that the whole navy must be 
reconstructed, for that 'a broadside from the modern shell 
guns would tear holes in the sides of our wooden ships 
through which it would be easy to drive a wheel-barrow.'" 

According to Napier, France was always preparing 
to invade us and was always increasing her arma- 
ments enormously. To those who sat near him in 
the House he would almost predict the very month 
when the French might be expected in England : — 

"Cherbourg had been always described by him as the 
chief source of our danger, until the great public visit to that 
port dispelled the phantom-ships with which he had been 
haunted ; but still he would expatiate on the facilities which 
its enormous docks and basins offered for embarking an 
army ; declaring on one occasion that ' the troops could walk 
on board ; cavalry, mounted on their horses, could ride on 
board ; and artillery could easily be shipped, for thirty sail-of- 
the-line could lie alongside of the wharves alone.' Notwith- 
standing that he drew on himself occasionally the censure 
of his brother officers for disparaging our naval strength, and 
was more than once rebuked for encouraging insubordination 
among the seamen, he still persevered ; and such is the force 
of reiteration, that he was at last justified in the boast that, 
although ' he had been galled an alarmist, and laughed at fQr 



'♦■ 



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24 THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 

many years on that account, he had lived to see his views 
adopted.' " ' 

The fact seems to be that " his nerves were com- 
pletely gone." This was the official explanation 
given for Napier's removal from the chief com- 
mand in the Baltic, and this explains his obsession 
about a French invasion when in other respects his 
intellectual and rhetorical powers remained un- 
impaired. Cobden observes that old age is often 
accompanied by decrepitude in one particular quality 
such as nerve or courage. " The very faculty for 
which a man is most distinguished may, by an 
excessive and continued strain, be the first to give 
way." The moral for statesmen and publicists is 
clear : it should teach charity in weighing the motives 
of veteran panic-mongers and at the same time warn 
us against accepting from the timidity of age counsels 
of extravagance which would be ridiculed if they 
were offered by the rash inexperience of youth. It 
happened however that in 1857 and 1858 the states- 
men in power were not disposed to launch out on 
panicky preparations. The Manchester School, under 
the leadership of Cobden and Bright, exercised a 
strong influence, and its doctrines of public economy 
were widely held. At the commencement of the 
session in 1857, Disraeli, who led the Tory party 
in the Commons, moved resolutions aiming at a 
» See Ck)bden's "Third Panic" and Hansard, vol. 156, p. 989. 



THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 25 

reduction in the scale of expenditure. " I cannot but 
believe," he said, " that if these resolutions are 
carried we shall witness some beneficial changes in 
the financial system of this country. I think we 
shall give a great impulse to salutary economy, 
and shall in a most significant manner express our 
opinion that it is not advisable that England should 
become what is called a great military nation. I 
am not afraid to express the old fashioned opinion 
that a standing army is dangerous to the liberties 
of this country. I know that we must have troops. 
We have had an army of which every man has 
reason to be proud, and I wish to see that army 
maintained in its spirit and efficiency. What we 
want are scientific officers, and that the machinery 
of our militia shall be nurtured and maintained 
in efficiency. For the rest we may trust to the 
resources of the country, which will increase in pro- 
portion as we reduce its taxation. ... I hope that 
the glory of the late war and the, if possible, greater 
glories of wars to come will not induce the people 
of this country to sanction extravagant military 
establishments. I will express my opinion that with 
due economy and with able administration the more 
you reduce the burdens of the people the greater will 
be your strength when the hour of danger comes." ^ 
Cobden, Gladstone and Lord John Russell sup- 

' See Hansard, vol. 144, pp. 106-35. 



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26 THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 

ported these views, the last-named statesman putting 
the case against war expenditure in time of peace 
with great earnestness and power. He argued that 
the Engh'sh system, endorsed by Pitt, of keeping 
low establishments in time of peace had proved a 
source not only of wealth but of military and naval 
strength to the country: — 

" We have thus been enabled to secure a surplus revenue, 
to reduce taxes and abolish customs duties which pressed 
upon the energies and checked the industry of the people ; 
we have enabled our population to grow rich ; and we have 
seen in the last [the Crimean] war what that wealth was 
able to effect ; for when our enemy was exhausted, and our 
Ally was so far weakened in its finances that its war spirit 
flagged, the Government of this country found that, owing to 
our wealth, we had more than sufficient to pay for the large 
expenditure of the war ; and the spirit of our people, if terms 
of peace had not been accepted, was such that for five, six, 
or ten years longer, if necessary, we might have made the 
exertions necessary for war. Now these are the things which 
produce good terminations of wars, and not large and expen- 
sive establishments, with generals and admirals growing so 
old that they are unfit for their duties when war comes. 
It is by moderate establishments, by rendering such establish- 
ments good and efi&cient, by attending to everything which 
cannot easily be originated or replaced ; it is by such a system, 
and by relying on the greatness of the country and on the 
spirit of our people, that you will be most formidable in 
war, and not by any new fangled system of increased esti- 
mates during a time of peace." 

This powerful and combined attack had its effect, 
and even the most virulent panic-mongers in parlia- 



THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 



27 



ment and the press were deterred from stirring up 
mischief in Europe by the great mutiny which 
threatened us with the loss of India. It is true 
that this catastrophe and the China War provided 
Napoleon the Third with an ideal opportunity for 
executing the design with which our alarmists credited 
him. But the Emperor, instead of conquering Eng- 
land, offered a passage through France to the 
troops we sent out to suppress the mutiny. Early 
in 1858 Lord Palmerston's Government fell, and 
that of Lord Derby succeeded. In spite of Sir 
Charles Napier's efforts — the House of Commons 
only laughed at his picture of a Russian fleet com- 
ing up the Channel ' — the Navy Estimates went 
through quietly. The chief feature was Lord 
Clarence Paget's shrewd warning against wooden 
three-deckers and the pig-headed determination of 
the Admiralty, influenced perhaps by the vested 
interests, to continue expending money on the con- 
struction of a type which was already superseded 
by the invention of iron armour. 

In 1859 peace being restored the panic-mongers 
renewed their activity in the press by describing 
naval preparations in France. But they produced 
little effect, says Cobden, on the public mind. Un- 
like its predecessors, the Third Panic "had its 

* June II, 1858, "What would become of the Funds God 
only knew," cried the gallant sailor. 



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28 THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 

origin chiefly in elevated and official circles." What 
motives were at work cannot easily be guessed. 
« Viewed in the light of facts," writes Cobden, the 
tone of excitement and alarm which pervaded the 
First Lord's statement (February 25, 1859) 
"becomes simply incomprehensible." The French 
Panic of 1859 is indeed only comparable in size 
of superstructure and absence of foundation with 
the German Panic of 1909, which I shall try to 
describe later on. 

What were the facts? 

In 1858 the total expenditure on the British Navy 
was ;f 10,029,000, on the French ;f5,337,ooo. The 
expenditure on wages in dockyards was ;^99i,ooo 
against ;^640,ooo. The seamen of our navy n'um- 
bered 55,883 against 29,602 in the French Navy. 
An official report in the hands of the Government 
(but not published till a year later) showed that 
since 1852 British ships in commission had risen 
from 203 to 267 and that over 11,000 men had 
been added to the fleet, whereas the French ships 
in commission had fallen from 175 to 152, and 
only j^Z men had been added to the establish- 
ment. 

Such being the state of the case what did the 
First Lord of the Admiralty, Sir John Pakington, 
ask and say? 

He asked for an addition of ;6"i,200,ooo to the 



THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 29 

shipbuilding vote and proposed to raise the personnel 
to 62,400— the largest number ever maintained during 
peace. He declared that on succeeding to office he 
did not find the navy "in a proper and adequate 
state for the defence of our coasts and the protection 
of our commerce," added that its strength did not 
exceed that of a neighbouring power, and invited 
the House of Commons to " aid him in his attempt 
to restore the naval supremacy of England." This 
mendacity was accompanied not for the last time by 
prophecy. He predicted that at the end of 1859 
France would have 40 line-of-battle ships against 
our 36. Two years later, after the forecast had 
served its purpose, a Secretary of the Admiralty 
admitted in the House of Commons that France 
even then had only 37 line-of-battle ships built 
and building^ Such however was the impression 
produced by Sir John Pakington's statements and 
forecasts, enhanced by an appropriate air of mystery, 
that the House of Commons offered no opposition to 
his proposal to add 26 men of war to the navy in one 
year.2 Those who wish to study the two fleets in 
detail will turn to Cobden's analysis and Busk's useful 
work on The Navies of the World, Cobden came 
to the conclusion that the superiority of the British 
over the French Navy, great as it was, would have 

* See Ha»sard for April 11, 1861. 

• Hansard, vol. 152, p. 942. 



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30 THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 

been considerably greater but for the bad financial 
management of our Admiralty and "the waste of 
money, which is always going on in this country 
upon unnecessary and useless constructions." Possi- 
bly an apprehension that popular criticism might be 
directed against itself induced the British Admiralty 
on this occasion to work up feeling against the 
French Government and to make it appear that 
the French Admiralty had been spending secretly 
enormous sums on shipbuilding. The fact is that 
the period from 1852 to 1858 was one of transition 
from sailing ships to steam vessels, as the following 
period was one of transition from wooden ships to 
ironclads. The French had been spending their 
money in converting old sailing ships into steamers, 
while we had spent ours mostly on new construction. 
According to the Official Report previously referred 
to " the cost of converting a line-of-battle ship of 90 
guns is estimated at ;{^2 5,000, and the cost of build- 
ing the same at jf 105,000 ; but the latter will of 
course be a far more efficient and durable vessel." 
The results were as follows: In 1852 Britain had 
94 line-of-battle ships, of which 21 were steam and 
73 sailing ; France, 6 steam and 45 sailing. In 1858 
Britain had 35 sailing to 10 French, and 59 steam to 
French 40. In the same year we had 464 steam 
vessels of all sizes to 264 French. But considering 
that materials, machinery, etc., were 30 per cent. 



THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 31 

cheaper in France than England, the comparison of 
results proved " an enormous amount of misapplied 
capital and labour in our dockyards."' 

The debates on the Navy Estimates of 1857 to 
1859 are used by Cobden to illustrate the dramatic 
transformation of opinion which sometimes follows 
removal from office to opposition and vice versa : — 

" On the iSth May, 1857, Sir Charles Wood, the First Lord, 
in bringing forward the Navy Estimates, stated that France 
had forty and England forty-two screw-liners. On the 12th 
April, 1858, Sir John Pakington who had just succeeded to the 
office of First Lord, alluding to this statement of his pre- 
decessor, said — ' it was not fair to exclude the block-ships, as 
you must do when you say that you have only two line-of- 
battle ships more than the French.' On the 25th February, 
1859, Sir John Pakington, in moving his Navy Estimates, stated 
that France had twenty-nine, and England had also twenty- 
nine screw line-of-battle ships, totally omitting the block-ships. 
On the 6th of April following, Sir Charles Wood, then in 
opposition, reminded the First Lord of this omission, and con- 
tended that the block-ships were good and efficient for the 
defence of the coast." 



' In a debate on the Navy Estimates of 1859, Mr. Bentinck 
said he had asked many of the most eminent owners of private 
yards in Great Britain, " Supposing you were to carry on your 
yards upon the system on which Her Majesty's dockyards are 
conducted, what would be the result ? " The invariable answer 
was : " If we were to approach that system with the Bank of 
England at our back we should be ruined in six months." The 
whole debate raised by Lord Clarence Paget's motion on dock- 
yard expenditure deserves perusal. See Hansard, vol. 153, 
p. 39 sqq. 




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32 THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 

Meanwhile the French Emperor's hands were full 
enough with the war against Austria. In this war 
aristocratic sentiment in England favoured the 
Austrians, while the popular sympathies were natur- 
ally on the side of Italian nationality. The out- 
break of this war made the theory of French 
aggression against England doubly and trebly 
absurd. Yet it was used by the panic-mongers 
as an argument for a great increase of military and 
naval preparations which eventually resulted in 
immense waste of public money. Lord Derby's 
Government appealed to the country in April and 
Parliament reassembled on May 31st. There was 
a large Whig majority, and in June Lord Palmerston 
returned to power with Mr. Gladstone as Chancellor 
of the Exchequer. In the following month the Third 
French Invasion Panic boiled over in both Houses of 
Parliament. The debate in the House of Lords on 
July I, 1859, teemed with the finest flowers of 
panic oratory. Lord Ellenborough called for 70 
battleships and forts galore. He said that for " six 
months in the year an enemy may land 60,000 to 
80,000 men on any beach on the south coast of 
England." Lord Howden, who lived in France, 
turned up in the Lords to assert that the whole 
French population longed to invade England in 
order to rob and humiliate their old enemy; and 
then *• the French eagles might stream from every 



THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 33 

steeple from Acton to Ealing, and from Ealing to 
Harrow. . . . There was not a single widow in 
France who would not give her last son, or a single 
beggar who would not give his last penny to carry 
out such a project" These gross absurdities were 
contradicted by Lord Brougham (then 81 years of 
age), who, however, also called for more armaments. 
A few days later Lord Lyndhurst, then Sy, let off 
a fiery piece of rhetoric, which (we are told) 
fluttered the fashionable world and agitated the 
clubs for a fortnight. It was a trumpet call to arms, 
in which the aged orator contrasted his memories of 
Camperdown, the Nile, Trafalgar, and other glories 
of the last war with the humiliating dangers of the 
present, when steam had converted the Channel into 
a river, which a large French army might cross in a 
single night. "I know," he added, to prove the 
imminence of the danger, " from information which I 
have received, and the accuracy of which I do not 
doubt, that the French are at the present moment 
building steamers for the purpose of transporting 
troops, each of which is constructed to carry 2,500 
men, with all the necessary stores." This fiction was 
repeated in the form of a question in the Commons, 
and on July 29th Mr. Horsman made what Cobden 
calls " the great panic speech of the session, unexcep- 
tionable as a rhetorical performance," demanding a 
loan for national defence, and "absolutely destitute 




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34 THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 

of one fact or figure to prove the danger against 
which we were called upon to arm." If Horsman 
had been a commercial traveller in armaments, his 
eloquence could hardly have gone more directly and 
visibly to the point than in the following sentences : — 
" Every public or private yard should be put into full 
work; every artificer and extra hand should work 
extra hours, as if the war were to begin next week. 
As gunboats could be built more rapidly than men- 
of-war, gunboats should be multiplied as fast as 
possible ; as volunteers could be enrolled faster than 
the line, they should at once be raised ; as rifles could 
not be made fast enough in England, we should 
renew that order in Belgium, even though they 
should cost sixpence a piece more than the Horse 
Guards' regulation ; and night and day the process 
of manufacturing, constructing, arming, drilling 
should go on till the country was made safe, and 
then we might desist from preparations, and return 
to our peace expenditure, with the certainty that 
these humiliating, lowering and degrading panic- 
cries of invasion would never disturb our country or 
our Government again." Cobden reminds us that 
when Horsman called for the multiplication of gun- 
boats to resist French preparations we had 162 
against the 28 possessed by France, and that the 
tonnage under construction at our dockyards had 
been more than doubled. As for "the iron cased 



THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 35 

vessels" of France which existed in Horsman's 
speech. La Gloire, the first, did not make her trial 
trip till a year later. After closely comparing the 
actual facts and figures with this panic rhetoric, the 
great critic of extravagance observes : " The alarm 
on this occasion, as in the case of the previous panic 
of 1 85 1, was excited at the very time when it 
happened to have the least foundation; which 
might appear strange did we not know that panic is 
not a product of reason but of passion, and that it is 
quite as likely to occur under one state of circum- 
stances as another." 

The Panic of 1859 gave a stimulus to the Volun- 
teer or Rifle Corps movement, and fiery meetings 
were held all over the country at which militant 
patriots let off* steam against the French. Towards 
the end of the session Lord Palmerston said they 
could count on about 200,000 men including 60,000 
regulars and 100,000 militia to resist an invasion. 
But during the recess the public caught the infection 
as it spread downwards from the upper circles of 
society. Even men of steady nerves and ordinary 
sense were alarmed ; for they asked with reason : 
Was it likely that the Government, unless it had proofs 
of danger, would have imposed such unnecessary 
expense on the country ? When responsible states- 
men act extravagantly an indulgent and credulous 
public will generally listen to those who say : " the 



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36 THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 

Prime Minister is acting on secret information which 
it would be dangerous to disclose." In i860 and 
1 861 the first fruits of the panic were gathered, and 
the harvest of wasteful expenditure would have 
been much larger but for the heroic efforts of Mr. 
Gladstone as Chancellor of the Exchequer and 
the brilliant success of Cobden in negotiating the 
famous commercial treaty with France. The Navy 
Estimates of i860 reached a grand total of 
;f 1 2,800,000, and Lord Clarence Paget, the Secre- 
tary of the Admiralty, was readily exonerated 
by the Opposition for this practical reversal of 
the views he had put forward in opposition. Lord 
Clarence Paget's argument reflects no credit on his 
character. Cobden writes : — 

"To reconcile the country to this enormous expenditure, 
it was necessary that the French navy should be made to 
assume very alarming proportions. But how was this to be 
accomplished by any ordinary mode of comparison ? If the 
expenditure in the dockyards had been compared, ours would 
have been shown to be double that of France ; if it had been a 
comparison of seamen, the number voted, together with the 
reserve, would have been found nearly three times as great in 
England as in France ; had the ships in commission, or the 
ships afloat in the two navies, been compared, the effect would 
have been the reverse of what was desired. A very ingenious 
and perfectly original mode of comparison was adopted. 
The number of ships in commission in England was compared 
with the number afloat in France : they chanced to be 244 in 
each case, and this equality was, perhaps, the temptation 
to adopt the new method. Had the numbers afloat in both 



THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 37 

cases been given, they would have been, as afterwards 
incidentally appears in the statement, 244 French and 456 
English." ' 

It must be added that the shipbuilding programme 
announced by Lord Clarence Paget (large wooden 
steamships) was diametrically opposed to the opinions 
and criticisms he had expressed in opposition. It 
was already obvious from experiments that these 
ships would be mere slaughter-houses, and that the 
future lay with armoured vessels. Such exhibitions 
as this may provoke the question whether in the 
public interest some casuist ought not to define the 
limit of consistency beyond which Ministers of the 
Crown should not be allowed to wander. The 
limits have not yet been defined ; and later records 
of the Admiralty have revealed even more wonderful 
instances of elasticity in political ethics. 

On May i, i860, Lord Lyndhurst revived the 
panic in the Lords, and called upon the Government 
to report progress in its war preparations. He sniffed 
at the treaty of commerce which had just been 
concluded, and proceeded to draw very cleverly a 
false comparison of the British and French navies, 
a comparison which " did not contain one fact that 
would bear the test of fair examination." But it was 
unfashionable and even unpatriotic to criticise fictions 
favourable to the theory of a French invasion, and the 
' See Cobden's Third Panic and Hansard, vol. 156, pp. 966^. 



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38 THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 

facts stated in reply by the Duke of Somerset and 
Lord Clarence Paget failed to restore to reason " that 
vast body of excited opinion in the country, of which," 
as we read in Morley's Life of Gladstone, "Lord 
Palmerston was the cheerful mouthpiece." Under 
the Duke of Somerset, indeed, common sense soon 
began to prevail over the naval fever. But at the 
War Office Sidney Herbert suffered from a severe 
attack of the cerebral disorder. Already in N ovember, 
1859, his informants had persuaded him that France 
was about to declare war on England. It was for- 
tunate indeed for the country that Gladstone was at 
the Exchequer. How he wrestled with Palmerston 
and Herbert, battling against the huge loan for forti- 
fications, how he was beaten at first and forced to 
submit to a considerable measure of waste, but 
at length by contesting every inch of ground with 
the invaluable support of Cobden and Bright, suc- 
ceeded in restoring sanity and economy, is told in a 
splendid chapter of Gladstone's life. In 1862 the 
threat of a tenth penny on the income tax " proved to 
be a strong physic," and the Cabinet ordered £7^0,000 
reductions in the Army Estimates. The publication 
of Cobden's Three Panics made all reasonable men 
ashamed of the scare. Lord Eversley is no doubt 
right in holding that to Cobden's scathing exposure 
of these senseless frights and of the fabrications ac- 
accompanying them, we may trace the fact that from 



THE THIRD PANIC, 1859-1861 39 

1862 to 1884 there was no recurrence of panics, and 
no expansion of armaments. In spite of the loan for 
fortifications economy triumphed during Mr. Glad- 
stone's second reign at the Exchequer. He could not 
prevent the naval and military estimates rising from 
26 millions in 1859 to 28 millions in 1862, but they 
were gradually reduced to 24 millions in 1866 and an 
enormous load of taxation was removed ; for the trade 
and revenues of the country were advancing by leaps 
and bounds. Gladstone and Cobden, it should be 
remembered, were just as determined as Lord Palmer- 
ston to maintain an ample margin of security. But 
they hated ostentatious, extravagant, and provocative 
preparation for war. " We have no adequate idea," 
wrote Gladstone, " of the predisposing power which 
an immense series of measures of preparation for war 
has in actually begetting war." To substitute concert 
for conflict, and proportional reductions for propor- 
tional increases, was the aim and object of their 
endeavours, when they sought so successfully to 
improve our relations with France, at that time the 
second Naval Power. The principle of reciprocity in 
adjusting naval forces was Cobden's substitute for 
that insane competition in armaments which threatens 
civilisation with bankruptcy, and piles up debts and 
taxes, for the sole benefit of the manufacturers of 
war material. There is still, alas ! " a vacant niche 
in the Temple of Fame for the ruler or minister who 



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40 THE THIRD PANIC, 185^1861 

shall be the first to grapple with the monster evil of 
the day." But there is encouragement in looking 
back upon the heroic efforts which prevailed over the 
Third Panic ; for they provided our governing classes 
with such a grounding of common sense as assured 
the nation more than twenty years of comparatively 
peaceful progress. 



THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 

THE efficacy of Cobden's medicine is proved by 
the long respite which Cabinets, parliaments 
and all sections of the British public enjoyed from 
armament panics after the subsidence of the third 
French Invasion panic in 1861 and the publication of 
the Three Panics in the following year. The natural 
cravings of professional soldiers or sailors and the 
commercial instincts of contractors were kept in 
check. Card well's famous reforms promoted economy 
and efficiency in the army, and the Franco-German 
war made a French invasion more than ever 
ridiculous without suggesting thoughts of a German 
peril. At last in the autumn of 1884— when the 
Naval Expenditure of Great Britain was about 11 
millions against £7,6$ 3*000 for France, and upwards 
of 3 J millions for Russia— Mr. W. T. Stead, a clever 
journalist who indulged an unfortunate talent for 
sensations, restarted the old business of Naval Panic- 
monger in the Pal/ Mall Gazette, How far Mr. 
Gladstone's Second Administration, weakened by 





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42 THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 

disturbances in Ireland, by troubles in South Africa, 
by an Afghan boundary dispute with Russia and by 
the Egyptian entanglement, yielded against its better 
judgement to the cries for more naval expenditure 
which Mr. Stead evoked from various quarters I 
shall proceed to show. Of popular panic there 
was no trace; but Mr. Stead and his fellow-con- 
spirators managed to produce a feeling of nervous 
disquietude in high society, and although the results 
were small in comparison with later performances 
the year 1884 deserves attention as the beginning of 
a most disastrous expansion in naval armaments, in 
which the provocative impulse has too often been 
furnished by Great Britain. 

It must not be supposed that between the Third 
and what I venture to call the Fourth Panic there 
had been no agitation for additions to Naval Ex- 
penditure. The so-called armour-plate interest is 
never asleep. But the official policy of successive 
Governments was strong enough to resist these de- 
mands. What that policy was has been very well 
described by Lord Eversley, who was himself a 
member of the Board of Admiralty under the Duke 
of Somerset : — 

The number of seamen and marines, and the number of 
ships in commission were maintained at about the same rate. 
The tonnage of new ships constructed in the dockyards or by 
private contract was added to, and the increase of about one 



THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 



43 



million in the Navy Estimates during this period was mainly 
devoted to this purpose. Careful watch was kept on what 
was being done in this respect by other countries, and especi- 
ally by France. It was held that if the battleships of England 
were maintained in the proportion of three to two to those of 
France ... the position of this country was perfectly safe. 
During this period demands were not unfrequently made 
for large increases of the Navy, and especially in respect of 
the building of more ironclads and cruisers. But these efforts 
were resisted by the successive heads of the Admiralty ; and 
ex-Ministers generally supported those in power in opposing 
extravagant schemes in this direction. The arguments used 
for this purpose were to the effect, that it would be very 
unwise and impolitic, by large and spasmodic efforts, to 
increase the Navy, as it would only induce other Powers, and 
especially France, to follow our example, with the result that 
in the end we should find 'ourselves in no better position, 
relatively to others, than before such increases ; and, further, 
that any great increase in shipbuilding would, in the rapidly 
advancing development of naval science, result in multiplying 
types of vessels, which in a very short time would become 
obsolete and useless.* 

The wisdom of this safe and cautious policy is 
proved by the fact that it provoked no rivalry in 
naval armaments. Other powers were content to 
rest upon their oars so long as Great Britain was 
satisfied with its normal superiority. In those days 
First Lords and other official exponents of naval 
policy were comparatively quiet in their utterances 
and comparatively businesslike in their performances. 
These great positions of trust were not used for 

* The Burden of Armaments, p. 67. 




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44 THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 

purposes of self-advertisement, or for the issue of 
boastful challenges to possible rivals. Neither Mr. 
Disraeli nor Mr. Gladstone encouraged naval 
hysterics or military fireworks. In those years 
we had adequate security at a reasonable price ; and 
Ministers forewent the pleasures of declamation. It 
would be possible to quote opinions of Front Bench 
men like Mr. W. H. Smith x and Sir H. Campbell- 
Bannerman 2 on either side to show how much good 
sense, how much forethought, how much responsible 
self-restraint were exercised in the particular interests 
of Great Britain and in the general interests of the 
world. Unfortunately in the autumn of 1 884, when 
unemployment was rife in the shipbuilding trade, 
Mr. Stead, actuated probably by no worse motive 

• See Hansard, 1880, vol. 251, p. 602. 

■ " We have been invited by writers of great authority in 
the public Press," said Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman, "to 
take another course, to open up a new era of great Naval 
Expenditure, and to launch forth upon a sea of new projects 
and unknown expense in shipbuilding. ... We are not 
disposed to follow that advice. In the first place, we believe 
that we are quietly and steadily making and preparing such 
additions to the Navy as fully to maintain our position. In 
the second place, I would ask the Committee what would be 
the effect in Europe if England were suddenly to embark on 
a new career of Naval Expenditure, and possibly set the 
example of a fresh international rivalry on the sea, which 
could in the end but add to the miseries which the system of 
portentous military establishments already inflicts on the 
world ? "—See Hansard, 1883, vol. 277, p. 603. 



THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 



45 



than an irresistible desire to be the centre of a 
journalistic sensation, flung himself against this sober 
policy, using as editor of the Pall Mall Gazette the 
influence of a newspaper whose reputation had been 
built up on very different foundations by Mr. John 
Morley, his predecessor and former chief. 

According to an old official of the Admiralty this 
first success of "the advanced school of naval 
thought" was won "most unexpectedly" and owed 
its origin to the merest accident. Lord Salisbury, the 
Conservative leader, on a visit to Portsmouth in the 
summer of 1884 had heard discontent expressed 
about the state of the Navy by some of the officials 
there, and referred to the matter in a speech, which 
seemed to express a doubt as to whether the navy 
was strong enough to ensure the national safety. 
A few days afterwards, on June 9th, Lord North- 
brook, the First Lord of the Admiralty, defended 
the Admiralty from these criticisms in the House 
of Lords. He " set forth in glowing and exaggerated 
language the very efficient state of the Navy,"* 
and overwhelmed Lord Salisbury with comparative 
statistics, showing that the Liberal Government 
had done more than its predecessors, and that the 
French navy was far behind our own. But he also 
rashly remarked that he would be at loss to spend 

" See Naval Administrations, by Sir John Henry Briggs, for 
some time Chief Clerk of the Admiralty. London, 1897. 



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THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 



THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 



47 



If 



the money if the House of Commons put three 
minions into his hand. This statement of course put 
the naval experts and all the armour-plate agents, 
great and small, on their mettle. Every professional 
and commercial instinct was piqued by this appalling 
example of public lethargy. 

When they perused Lord Northbrook's speech, 
writes Sir J. H. Briggs in the volume just quoted, 
" the heads of the Naval profession were thoroughly 
astonished and taken aback ; and a famous contro- 
versy was the immediate result, which led to the 
publication of a series of articles in the Pall Mall 
Gazette!' In this controversy, he adds, "the most 
distinguished Admirals and Naval experts soon took 
a part, and in their numerous contributions to the 
Press gave ample proof of the great ability and 
skill with which they were able to defend their cause 
and uphold the vital interests of the country." And 
so Lord Northbrook, on his return from Egypt at the 
beginning of the autumn session "discovered," in 
the words of a Times chronicler, "that public opinion 
had been aroused, and that the facts disclosed in 
speeches and letters, not only by independent persons 
like Sir Edward Reed, but by officials like Sir Thomas 
Brassey, were being debated with much warmth." ^ 
The panic — it was really not much more than a 

* See Annual Summaries reprinted from The Times. Vol. ii. 
p. 243. London, 1893. The italics are mine. 



professional agitation for taxpayers' money which 
died down as soon as something was forthcoming — 
was heralded by a speech of Lord Henry Lennox to 
a Conservative Working Men's Club in the dockyard 
constituency of Portsmouth on September 12th. By 
that time politicians were beginning to return from 
the Grouse Moors, and Mr. Stead launched his bolt 
on September 15th with a clever leader entitled 
"What is the Truth about the Navy?" It was in 
the too familiar style which now palls on the public 
palate. But then perhaps it seemed strong ; for the 
mixture of Burke, the Penny-a- Liner, and the Penny 
Dreadful was comparatively new. "Can we or can 
we not demonstrate beyond all gainsaying our irre- 
sistible superiority in armour, guns, speed and coal- 
carrying capacity over any combination of fleets 
which it is reasonable to believe could be brought 
against us ? " was the question propounded in order 
to invite the desired negative — a negative which was 
supplied on the very next day in a formidable article 
of five pages bristling with blood-curdling figures and 
technical horrors of all sizes and shapes. It was 
signed with the initials A. F., and entitled "The 
Truth About the Navy by One Who Knows the 
Facts." This Monster was accompanied by a 
smaller one dressed in Mr. Stead's best style — a 
well assumed pose of stupefied astonishment and 
horror on learning 50 suddenly that his beloved 



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THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 



fatherland lay prostrate at the mercy of foreign 
powers. Speaking of " the Truth " as it appeared 
to " A. F." Mr. Stead wrote :— 

" So startling were his disclosures, so alarming the 
net effect of his exposd of the weakness of our 
defensive position, that we hesitated in making it 
public before submitting his statements to the exami- 
nation of some of the most competent and careful 
authorities in the service in both its branches, ad- 
ministrative and naval." The picture of a sensational 
journalist hesitating to publish a startling and alarm- 
ing disclosure is worthy of the pencil of Max 
Beerbohm. As all the facts collected by Mr. Arnold 
Forster (A. F.) were provided (unless I am much 
mistaken) by a naval officer, who afterwards rose to 
confer far greater services on the Armour-plate ring, 
it is clear that the standard of loyalty to the Board 
of Admiralty was not very high at the time. " He 
sets forth," proceeded the editor with evident relish, 
" one of the most gloomy pictures of the condition of 
our navy that has probably ever been published in an 
English newspaper, and one which, unless its sub- 
stantial accuracy can be promptly disproved, must 
arouse the nation to energetic and immediate action." 
Mr. Stead then incautiously launched into a statistical 
argument : " No amount of special pleading can get 
over the fact that whereas 15 years ago we spent 
as much on our Navy as was spent on the combined 



THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 



49 



navies of France, Italy, Germany and Russia, we are 
now spending eleven millions against their fifteen." 
Thus selecting a particular year when Italy and 
Germany were spending practically nothing the 
editor of the Pall Mali Gazette suggested that our 
Naval estimates ought always to be the equivalent of 
the aggregate spent by these four strangely chosen 
bedfellows who could not on any conceivable 
hypothesis have united in war against us ; and from 
these absurd premises he jumped to the required 
conclusion : " Unless we are prepared to live on 
sufferance — and such States are seldom long suffered 
to live at all — we must make up our minds to face 
an immediate and very considerable addition to our 
naval expenditure." 

From this characteristic effusion of the panic- 
monger, which has been reproduced mutatis mutandis 
hundreds of times in the last ten years by papers of 
the Daily Mail stamp, one turns to " the facts " to 
learn from " A. F." that France had outbuilt us in 
ironclads, and yet that we had sacrificed repairs 
to construction, that our guns were inferior to those 
of France and Italy ; that in case of sudden war the 
French could defeat us in the China seas and 
the Chilians in the Pacific, while " the new ironclad 
of Brazil would sweep our South American squadron 
off the sea," As to commerce protection — the 
Admiralty by the way insisted upon "capture" as 



B 



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50 



THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 



our most valuable weapon — " we have nineteen 
thousand merchantmen scattered over the world to 
protect and only twenty-four unarmoured ships of a 
speed exceeding fourteen knots for their protection." 
The writer then demanded huge sums for the con- 
struction of naval docks and the fortification of 
coaling stations in all parts of the world, observing 
that one hostile cruiser "could with almost entire 
impunity destroy to-morrow the coaling stations of 
Hong Kong, Singapore, Bombay, the Cape, Ascension, 
St Helena, Mauritius, St. George's Sound, Fiji, and 
Vancouver's Island." As to the home ports, only two 
harbours were "adequately protected." The fleet 
was also eight thousand men short, and lastly " to 
bring us into line with our rivals one hundred torpedo 
boats should be laid down at once." In a word we 
were, as usual during panics, hopelessly inferior in 
every branch of the service. For years we had been 
spending far more than our rivals and getting much 
less for our money. But of course the naval officers 
and Admiralty officials, who provided the Pall Mall 
Gazette with its "facts," like the journalists who 
declaimed upon them, carefully obscured the obvious 
moral which should immediately have been drawn 
from "the Truth," if it had been true, "about the 
Navy." That moral was, and is, that if our Board 
of Admiralty, manufacturing and contracting in a 
country where ships and materials of all kinds are 



THE FOURTH PANIC. 1884 



51 



far cheaper than elsewhere, could not provide a 
superior navy, its Board should have resigned and the 
men responsible should have been summarily ejected 
to make room for competent officials who could give 
the nation good value for its money. But of course 
no such demand was made. The writers were ingeni- 
ously maintaining a thesis for the sole purpose of 
extracting more money from the pockets of the 
people, and of enlarging the patronage of a great 
spending department. No public office will ever 
admit that economy will yield the funds required to 
satisfy new demands. No contractor will ever com- 
plain that contracts with the Admiralty and War 
Office are too lucrative. Prodigality and inefficiency 
always go hand in hand. 

Like a good journalist, Mr. Stead had arranged 
that his own cries of horror and astonishment should 
be well echoed, and there immediately appeared 
letters from Admiral This and Vice-Admiral That, 
couched in the most gloomy phraseology. On 
September 20th, two days only after "the Truth" 
had leaked out, the Pall Mall was able to inform its 
readers that " the unanimity of assent is bewildering 
and appalling. We had hoped, etc., etc." More 
letters from Admirals followed. On September 22nd 
the Observer observed quite seriously: "The plain 
truth is that the English Navy has no longer com- 
mand of the sea," and the provincial press (with one 






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52 THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 

or two creditable exceptions) followed, though less 
extravagantly, in a similar vein. But in spite of 
newspaper hysteria the panic did not go very deep. 
The Conservative opposition had not at that time 
adopted the modern fashion of pressing unlimited 
expansion of armaments upon their opponents in 
office. Mr. W. H. Smith sent a moderately cautious 
letter to the Times suggesting the appointment of a 
commission of inquiry. But the Pall Mall Gazette 
went on clamouring that the public had been 
"thoroughly aroused," and this iteration impressed 
the ministerial mind. The Daily Telegraph heard " a 
cry of patriotic anxiety rising in the country to which 
no Ministry could close its ears." Mr. Childers, the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, wrote on September 26th 
to Sir John Adye : " The Pall Mall Gazette's furious 
demand for more naval expenditure has been re- 
ceived with considerable approval." 

Among the letters printed in the Pall Mall Gazette 
was one from Admiral Sir T. Symonds, who « felt 
sure" that war was about to break out and that 
history would repeat itself: "After the most mature 
and deliberate consideration I deem it my bounden 
though most painful duty to state that I consider 
the Navy so starved, so weak in numbers, armament, 
structure, personnel, etc., that if a war broke out 
to-morrow with France I do not see how we could 
possibly avoid the most awful disasters." And yet 



I ; 



THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 



53 



about the same time during a debate in the French 
Chamber it was authoritatively said, no doubt with 
good reason, that " in speaking of foreign powers we 
must set aside the English navy, with which our fleet 
cannot enter into comparison for the number of 
first-class ironclads, cruisers, or torpedo boats." So 
perhaps there was some excuse for " the shortsighted 
economists and inveterate grumblers " ' not yet 
extinct in England, who continued to criticise naval 
expenditure and objected to the increase of debts and 
taxes at a time when agriculture was depressed 
and trade bad. The sequel may now be related in a 
very few sentences. Mr. Gladstone's Government, 
harassed as it then was by difficulties at home and 
abroad, resorted to an increase of taxation and 
debt. To meet the cost of extra expenditure for war 
a supplementary budget raising the income-tax from 
fivepence to sixpence was introduced on November 
17th, and on December 2nd Lord Northbrook 
announced in the House of Lords a programme of 
extraordinary expenditure on the Navy — a sum of 
5j millions sterling for shipbuilding, naval ordnance, 
and coaling stations to be spread over the next five 
years. It was but a small concession to the clamour 
raised by the Pall Mall Gazette for a minimum 
addition of four millions sterling to our annual 
outlay on the Navy. "In nearly all quarters," 
' See Times leader, November 13, 1884. 





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THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 



THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 



55 



♦ 












remarks the Annual Register^ "the Government's 
answer to the popular demand was pronounced 
inadequate. Nevertheless there arose a few anti- 
alarmists or sceptics who declared that the outcry in 
the newspapers was chiefly, if not wholly, the work 
of the professional advisers of the Admiralty, assisted 
in a great measure by the large shipbuilders, whose 
yards were empty and whose trade was temporarily 
at a standstill." The Fourth Panic, however, was 
now at an end. But little was heard of the miserable 
state of the Navy in 1885, journalists and politicians 
of all parties having other fish to fry. It may be 
doubted whether many of those who contributed to 
it had ever worried much over the condition of the 
Navy, or slept any better when more ships were 
built and more stations fortified. 

• • • • • 

Before passing to the Fifth Panic it will be con- 
venient to review very briefly the next twenty years 
of naval armaments, the second decade of which 
was marked by an appalling outburst of naval 
extravagance. The years of the Boer War were 
a golden age for contractors of all kinds, but the 
gold was furnished at the expense of the funds 
and the taxes. 

From 1885 to 1892 our military and naval 
expenditure moved slowly but irregularly upwards. 
With Mr. Gladstone in Opposition ?ind I^rd Salisbury 



in office, the atmosphere was not suited to a provo- 
cative or sensational expansion in armaments. In 
the autumn of 1887 a scheme of retrenchment was 
contemplated, and Lord Randolph Churchill resigned 
his office as Chancellor of the Exchequer because 
the reductions were insufficient for his purpose. The 
incident is well described in Lord Randolph's 
Life, and throws some light upon naval finance, 
as well as upon the ways of experts. Lord George 
Hamilton, the First Lord, himself admitted, or 
boasted, in defending a reduction of ;f700,ooo on 
the Navy Estimates of 1887, that the saving had 
been associated with an increase in the effective 
strength of the Navy. In 1888 Lord George con- 
tinued to speak and act as an economist; but in 

1889 he turned right-about-face on the plea that 
his advisers had scented an addition to French naval 
expenditure on battleships. As a matter of fact, 
the French naval expenditure was under eight 
millions in every year from 1884 to 1889, except 
1887, when it rose to ;f 8,452,cxx> ; and even in 

1890 it was only ;f 8,060,000, against a British 
expenditure of ;^i7,529»ooo. On this trivial 
pretext, however. Lord George Hamilton intro- 
duced and passed the Naval Defence Act of 
1889, which provided for an expenditure of 
£21,500,000 in the next five years upon 70 new 
vessels. Of the total cost, 10 millions was to be 



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56 THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 

defrayed by loans whose repayment was spread over 
seven years. Not content with inaugurating this 
vicious policy of borrowing for ships-which was in 
effect a raiding of the Sinking Fund in order to avoid 
new taxation-Lord George Hamilton also pro- 
pounded a dangerous and mischievous novelty in the 
shape of a two-Power standard. The Naval Defence 
Act was immediately answered by the French Govern- 
ment with a supplementary estimate. As usual the 
armament firms profited, and the attempt to in- 
crease an already long lead merely led to an all- 
round increase. It was the omen of a far more 
calamitous and costly rivalry. But, at first, there 
was a pause. For the next three or four years our 
naval expenditure remained at something over 15 
millions. But in the month of December, 1893, Lord 
George Hamilton, Mr. Balfour, and Mr. Chamberlain 
attacked Mr. Gladstone's Government with a motion 
demanding another large increase. It was a weak 
Government, and most of its members were inclined 
to follow Lord Rosebery's bigger navy policy, for- 
getting that a particular increase leads to a general 
one, in which every nation loses. Mr. Gladstone 
resigned rather than acquiesce, and the naval 
expenditure was raised in 1894-5 to over 17 mil- 
lions, and in 1895-6 by the succeeding Government 
of Lord Salisbury to over 19J millions. Mr. Glad- 
stone admitted that (as Chancellor of the Exchequer 



THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 



57 



and Prime Minister) he had made " limited con- 
cessions" to scares in i860 and 1884, but in 1894 
he could find no justification. Apparently the love 
of power and patronage and display grew with every 
fresh concession which the Board of Admiralty 
wrested from a reluctant but ever-weakening 
Treasury. Liberal Imperialists and Tory Chau- 
vinists played into one another's hands. And 
behind them, behind or below the fashionable society 
and finance in which they moved, whether in office 
or opposition, was the insidious, incessantly growing 
power of the great armament firms, with their light 
skirmishing parties of smooth-tongued ambassadors, 
who acted sometimes as representatives at the 
Admiralty, sometimes as commercial agents in 
Turkey, Brazil, China, Japan, or any other poverty- 
stricken Power which could be persuaded to enter- 
tain naval ambitions, sometimes, again, as " our naval 
expert " upon one of the associated newspapers. 
This was a period of quiet but rapid development, 
during which a great armour-plate ring managed 
to suck from the taxpayer larger and more lucrative 
contracts year after year. It is only too easy to 
see from the figures by whom in the critical period 
of 1893 to 1897 the pace was forced. In 1893 
we spent on the Navy roughly 15I millions, France 
10, and Russia 5 J. In 1897 we spent 22 millions, 
France loj, Russia 6J. In 1899 our naval expendi- 




t? , 




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58 THE FOURTH PANIC, 1884 



.1 



V i 



ture had risen to 27I millions, against 12 millions 
for France, and 8J millions for Russia, while 
Germany's naval outlay had grown to 6i millions. 
Under cover of the vast borrowing for the Boer 
War, our Admiralty did not neglect its opportunities. 
In 1904 British naval expenditure was 42J millions, 
French 12 J, German nearly 12, Russian 11 J. It is 
a most disgraceful chapter in the history of British 
policy ; and the principal blame must rest upon the 
politicians, the Press, the society and finance of 
London. An appalling laxity about public money, 
beginning before and continuing after the Boer War, 
was accompanied by a luxurious style of living, 
which sapped the vigour and independence of 
Parliament. At length a lowering of the national 
credit, an increase in the burden of taxation, and a 
period of bad trade and unemployment led to a 
great popular reaction against the whole degenerate 
system of Government over which Mr. Balfour then 
presided. Tariff Reform failed to revive his party. 
After effecting a considerable measure of naval 
retrenchment in order to avoid another unpopular 
addition to taxation, the Unionist Government fell, 
and suffered an unexampled defeat at the General 
Election of January 1906. 



THE FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

IN the political crash of 1906 Lord Rosebery 
vanished and Imperialism went out of action 
for a time. A new spirit, embodying new ideals 
of social reform in association with the retrench- 
ment of unproductive expenditure, was fitly repre- 
sented by a new Premier in the person of Sir H. 
Campbell - Bannerman, a man of broad, popular 
sympathies and shrewd common sense. He was 
a sincere lover of peace. Detested now, as he 
had before been despised and insulted by smart 
society, he was yet so popular with the rank and 
file on his own side, that he was able in two 
brief years to give important expression to a new 
spirit, both in finance and in Colonial politics. Un- 
fortunately, he was heavily handicapped, first by 
the so-called invention of the Dreadnought, secondly 
by the persistent Chauvinism of the leaders of the 
Opposition, and, thirdly, by the successful resistance 
of the Admiralty and Foreign Office to the reform 
of naval warfare. I deal with this third problem in 

99 



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6o FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

a later essay. "Capture" and Prize-Money are 
cardinal features in the great armour-plate policy. 
They are a double stimulus to naval expendi- 
ture, which is thus able to represent itself in every 
country as a necessity of commercial defence. 

But to return to the Dreadnought By what 
means the armament people managed to induce 
Mr. Balfour's Government to build the first 
Dreadnought, and to advertise it as a ship which 
had made all previous battleships obsolete, is a 
mystery not likely to be cleared up during the 
lifetime of the individuals chiefly concerned. How 
happy a hit it was for the contractors, and how 
disastrous to the taxpayers, will be seen from the 
following points : — 

I. Since that time the fashion has been to build 
every new battleship bigger than the last, with more 
armour plate, larger guns, and everything in pro- 
portion, so that one super-Dreadnought now costs 
double as much as a monster battleship of ten years 
ago. The continuance of this folly is explained by 
the plaudits which the advertisement of each fresh 
monstrosity evokes from half the Press. 

2. This augmentation in size was not accom- 
panied by a reduction in the ships laid down. On 
the contrary, in a very short time, as we shall see, 
by playing on the theory that the Dreadnought 
made other ships obsolete, other Powers were iti- 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 6i 

duced by the international armour-plate Press to 
build similar ships, and to make special efforts so 
that they might thus be able, with unexpected ease 
and celerity, to challenge Britain's naval supremacy. 
The secret of the Dreadnought (such as it was) was 
carefully explained in the British Press at an early 
stage in its construction, and in a short time British 
armament firms were merrily building these ships 
for foreign countries, and so helping to produce the 
statistics which the Admiralty required to force 
larger and larger programmes upon Parliament. 

3. One further advantage from the contractor's 
point of view must not be omitted. The Dread- 
nought was built just large enough not to go into 
most of our docks and harbours. Consequently, 
an enormous expenditure on docks requiring another 
set of lucrative contracts was called for speedily and 
urgently. Thus the Dreadnoughts cost far more 
than they appeared to do. Even if they had not 
been imitated, they would have been an economic 
and naval blunder of the first magnitude. The 
Dreadnought will be marked down by the record- 
ing angel as a double offence against the British 
nation and against the human race. But for this 
"invention" most of the slums in our great towns 
could have been cleared away without any addition 
to rates or taxes. 

These criticisms have been offered over and over 



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62 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

again ; but no attempt has ever been made to 
answer them (so far as I know) either by Mr. 
Balfour, or the late Lord Cawdor, or by Sir John 
Fisher (now Lord Fisher), who won such credit and 
renown as the father of the first Dreadnought, or 
by Sir Philip Watts, the actual designer, who went 
from Armstrong's to the Admiralty. Personally, I 
am certain that the whole theory of the superiority 
of the big ship is a fallacy, whether applied to the 
Merchant Service or to the Navy. Economy and 
efficiency — to say nothing of the torpedo and sub- 
marine—point to a return to a smaller type. But 
enough has been said here to show the appalling 
magnitude of this blunder. Its consequences are 
written large in the Fifth or Dreadnought Panic. 

I have said that in 1904 British naval expenditure 
had risen to 42 millions, 20 millions in excess of 
that of France and Russia combined, and more than 
32 millions in excess of that of Germany. Yet in 
the following year the new Imperial Defence Com- 
mittee discussed the possibility of an invasion of 
England, and Lord Roberts was so deeply im- 
pressed by the defenceless state of the nation, that 
he thought proper about this time to retire from 
the Defence Committee in order to prosecute a 
missionary campaign on behalf of compulsory service 
for the Army. Meantime, the party exigencies al- 
ready mentioned had caused, in the spring of 1905, 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 63 

a rather severe retrenchment in the Navy Estimates, 
and it may be convenient here to set forth the total 
naval expenditure in votes (leaving out the expen- 
diture on works from borrowed money) in the 
periods between the ending of the Boer War and 
the Panic of 1909 : — 

Naval Expenditure After the War, 1903-8. 



Year. Numbers. 

1903-4 125,948 

1904-5 130,490 

1905-^ 127,667 

190^ 127,431 

1907-8 127,228 

1908-9 126,935 



Ship- 
building 
Contracts. 

£ 

10,832,371 

10,071,514 

7,781,483 

8,388,514 
7,452,262 

7,147,464 



Total Expen- 
diture 
from Votes. 
£, 

35,709,477 
36,859,681 

33,151,841 

31472,087 

31,251,156 

32,181,309 



Public sentiment (outside Fleet Street) in 1904 and 
1905 was so much exasperated by the contrast 
between a general trade depression and the thriving 
condition of armament manufacturers that Mr. 
Balfour actually boasted before he left office of 
his great naval economies, and especially of "the 
courageous stroke of the pen" by which the 
Admiralty had withdrawn 160 ships from the fight- 
ing line. Credit was also taken for the abandon- 
ment of many foreign and colonial stations, which 
had been fortified at vast expense, and for a con- 
centration of the fleet in the home seas. No doubt 
had this, or anything like it, been proposed by 
a Liberal Government, they would have been de- 




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64 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

nounced as traitors to the country and to the 
Empire. However, the reductions were made, and 
in February, 1906, Mr. Edmund Robertson, the 
Secretary of the Admiralty, in introducing the first 
Naval Estimates of Sir H. Campbell Bannerman's 
administration, showed that the actual expenditure 
(including expenditure on naval works out of loans) 
was 36 millions, as against 42 millions two years 
before. He gave the whole credit of this reduction 
to Mr. Balfour's Government. In July, after re- 
viewing the new programme, he announced that 
the Board of Admiralty had unanimously decided 
to reduce it from four to three Dreadnoughts, 
and also to knock off three destroyers and four 
submarines — a prospective saving of about 2J 
millions. In order, he added, to encourage an 
international arrangement for the reduction of 
armaments at the Hague Conference of 1908, next 
year's programme would be reduced to two battle- 
ships, a third to be added if the Hague Conference 
did nothing in this direction. Mr. Balfour de- 
nounced his successors for these further economies ; 
but the Prime Minister observed that until 1909 we 
would be the only Power with a Dreadnought, and, 
of course, our preponderance over either France or 
Germany was overwhelming. In March, 1907, Mr. 
Robertson was able to show a reduction of ;f45o,ooo 
in the Navy Estimates, to ;f 3 1,419,000, and went on 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 65 

to argue that he had made an actual reduction of 
nearly 2J millions, taking into account the stoppage 
of borrowing for works, etc. On the same reckoning, 
our Naval Expenditure had been reduced to 33J 
millions, against 41 J three years before, but more 
than double the expenditure of 1892. In these 
debates Mr. Balfour declared that the Navy ought 
to be equal to that of the two next strongest Powers 
" with a margin of safety." In the next year (1908) 
the Navy Estimates showed an increase of nearly 
a million ; but Mr. Balfour and the Opposition again 
complained that the expenditure was inadequate, 
and " inconsistent with national safety and honour." 
By this time the destruction of the Russian navy by 
Japan and the refusal of France to join in the 
naval race, had forced the Admiralty and Foreign 
Office to look about for another enemy. They 
found one in Germany, where Krupp's influence was 
powerfully assisted by our diplomacy, and by the 
sly threat of commerce destruction supplied by our 
representatives at the Hague. The death of Sir 
Henry Campbell Bannerman also paved the way 
for the events of 1909. Already in 1908 our naval 
experts were beginning to work up statistical fore- 
casts of the future, and on March 9th Mr. Balfour 
gave figures derived, one must suppose, from naval 
officials or armament firms, to show that in the 
autumn of 191 1 Germany would have thirteen 



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6S FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

Dreadnoughts against our twelve. He excluded 
the Lord Nelson and the Agamemnon, Mr. 
Balfour's theory seemed to derive a certain plausi- 
bility from its vagueness and obscurity as well as 
from his insistence on the fact, however irrelevant, 
that the German shipbuilding programme began 
in June and the British in December. In July 
and August two leading Socialists, Mr. Blatchford 
and Mr. Hyndman, began to write up a German 
invasion scare in The Clarion^ and a year later 
Mr. Blatchford contributed a set of scare articles 
to the Daily Mail,^ 

The Times and other newspapers set to work in 
the autumn, when the Naval Estimates were being 
prepared. Finding that the United States and 
Germany were then spending 45 millions. The 
Times proclaimed that our formula should be to 
keep ahead of these two next strongest naval 
Powers. Everything now depended upon Mr. 
Asquith and Mr. McKenna. Mr. McKenna, who 
had been in opposition, and afterwards, at the 
Treasury, a champion of naval economy, was now 
at the Board of Admiralty. Mr. John Morley at 
the Indian Office, Mr. Lloyd George as Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer, and Mr. Churchill at the 

' For the value attached by the Armour Plate people to 
Mr. Blatchford's work, see a Diary of Events furnished by 
Mr. MuUiner to The Times of January 3, 1910. 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 67 

Board of Trade, were supposed to be out and out 
opponents of naval expansion. The Panic, however, 
was soon in full swing. The Unionist newspapers 
were reinforced by the theatre. On January 28, 
1909, "The Englishman's Home" was produced at 
Wyndham's. It represented an invasion of England, 
in which the Territorials played a ridiculous part 
It was patronized by the Court, and the Censor 
refused to allow it to be parodied ! In February 
it leaked out that Mr. McKenna had put forward 
demands for a great increase of naval expenditure. 
It was broadly hinted in the press that otherwise 
his Naval Board would have mutinied, and it was 
reported in reliable quarters that dissensions had 
broken out in the Cabinet. The main question was 
whether four Dreadnoughts or more should be pro- 
vided. It also became known that Mr. McKenna had 
come back from a trip in the Admiralty yacht, " con- 
verted," as the " Annual Register " puts it, " by Sir 
John Fisher to the principle of a strong navy." The 
Navy Estimates issued on March 13th showed an 
increase of ;^2,823,ooo. A large sum was to be 
spent on a naval station and harbour at Rosyth, 
which marked at once the acceptance of the Dread- 
nought theory and of the German Invasion theory. 
Only four monster battleships were provided for ; 
but this victory of the economists was to prove illu- 
sory, for "the Government also asked for power, if 



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68 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

necessary, to prepare for the rapid completion of 
four more armoured ships, beginning on April i, 
1 910, to be completed by March, 191 2." There was 
also a large programme of cruisers — pure waste, for 
in this arm the German Navy was hopelessly behind- 
hand. The most obvious sign of panic lay in the 
announcement that the contract for Rosyth (after 
great sums had been spent in buying out the local 
landowners) was to be accompanied by a bonus of 
;f 800 a week for each week saved on the time. The 
contractors were bribed to hurry ! All this extrava- 
gance was subservient to the monster shipbuilding 
policy. It seemed to be thought necessary to 
exaggerate the value of the Dreadnoughts, and to 
go on increasing their size in order to maintain 
the reputation of the individuals responsible for 
the original blunder. A dirigible airship was also 
to be constructed. I 

Practically the whole Liberal Press was up in arms 
against these Estimates as provocative and unneces- 
sary. It was felt that the Imperialist wing of the 
Cabinet, reinforced by Mr. McKenna, was leading the 
party along a false path. On the other hand, the 
Tory Press, delighted with the situation, was eager to 

' This I suppose was the Mayfly, which fell to pieces at 
Barrow while it was being launched, and just after it had 
been approved by the Government inspectors. There was an 
inquiry, but somehow the affair was hushed up, and as far 
as I can make out the taxpayer footed the bill. 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 69 

improve it, and clamoured for more. A crowded 
House and an excited public therefore awaited Mr. 
McKenna's speech introducing his first Estimates on 
March i6th. He began by admitting that the Esti- 
mates were of " exceptional gravity," that they would 
involve still higher ones next year, and that they 
required strong justification from a Liberal Ministry 
and a Liberal Minister pledged to retrenchment in 
armaments. " During the last few weeks a number of 
friends of the Government have reminded me — antici- 
pating, I suppose, the increase of the vote next year, 
that the policy of the present Government had been 
declared to be one of Peace, Retrenchment, and 
Reform. I agree most cordially with that policy, and 
I can well understand that any addition to the naval 
expenditure may be viewed with the greatest alarm 
by many persons whose political convictions I share, 
and whose good opinion I greatly value. ... No one 
can suppose that the present Government have made 
themselves responsible for Estimates on such a scale 
with a light heart. If I may speak of myself for a 
moment it would be to say that there is no man in 
this House who is more earnestly desirous of retrench- 
ment in expenditure on armaments than I am, or 
more reluctant to have forced upon him by the cir- 
cumstances of the time so burdensome a programme. 
My first experience of official life was at the Treasury. 
In that admirable department I learned the practice 



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70 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

and the theory of economy. If I find myself in a 
situation which is above my pretensions, I recognize, 
I believe, that I owe it to the fact that I am known to 
adhere to the principles which I learned in my first 
office." This seems to mean that Mr. Asquith had 
appointed the First Lord for the special purpose of 
introducing into the Admiralty those principles of 
economy and retrenchment which Mr. McKenna had 
preached to it in his missives from the Treasury a 
year or two before. " But," as he added, " there are 
occasions when even the most determined economist 
is willing to make a sacrifice"; and this was one. 
Indeed, Mr. McKenna almost as well as Mr. Winston 
Churchill may stand to prove that in up-to-date poli- 
tics the deepest convictions may have to be sacrificed 
when a real opportunity arrives of carrying them into 
official life. Mr. McKenna therefore set himself to 
show that these exceptionally grave and financially 
burdensome proposals were justified and required by 
" the safety of the Empire." ^ This justification was 
to be found in the rapid progress of foreign Powers, 
and especially Germany, which he selected " for 
arithmetical purposes" as "the standard by which 
to measure our own requirements." This was an un- 
lucky phrase in view of the arithmetic that followed. 



I (( 



The safety of the Empire stands above all other con- 
siderations. No matter what the cost, the safety of the 
country must be assured." But why should this platitude 
have carried more weight in 1909 than in 1907 or 1905? 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 7t 

In order to produce the panic required to float his 
Estimates through the House and overcome the 
reluctance of the Liberal rank and file, Mr. McKenna 
began by excluding the ordinary battleships, in which 
we had, of course, an overwhelming superiority — 
both of numbers and quality — as compared with 
Germany. The next step was to produce a fleet 
of German Dreadnoughts in some future year large 
enough to bolster up a panic programme. Confining 
himself, therefore, to Dreadnought battleships and 
Dreadnought cruisers, he gave the following figures. 
In 191 1 we expected to have 16 against Ger- 
many's 13. But if the German construction were 
accelerated, as he declared it had been, Germany 
might have 17 in April 191 2 against our 16, and 
in any case would have 17 in the autumn of 19 12 
without acceleration. To maintain our superiority 
in Dreadnoughts the Admiralty must therefore be 
authorised to have four more ships by March 191 2 
in which case we should possess 20 Dreadnoughts 
against the German 17. 

In the course of this official exposition, which 
sounded far more formidable than my brief abstract, 
Mr. McKenna cleverly paused to do homage to 
the wonderful expansion which would make these 
miracles certain : — 

I think we may stop here to pay a tribute to the extra- 
ordinary growth in the power of constructing ships of the 



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72 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

largest size in Germany. Two years ago, I believe, there 
were in that country, with the possible exception of one or 
two slips in private yards, no slips capable of carrying a 
Dreadnought. To-day they have no fewer than fourteen of such 
slips, and three more are under construction. What is true 
of the ships is true also of the guns, armour, and mountings. 
Two years ago any one familiar with the capacity of Krupp's 
and other great German firms would have ridiculed the 
possibility of their undertaking to supply the component parts 
of eight battleships in one year. To-day this productive 
power is a realized fact.* It will tax the resources of our 
own great firms if we are to retain supremacy in rapidity 
and volume of construction. 

One of the most ingenious methods adopted by the 
international armament firms, of which in April, 
191 3, Krupp has furnished the classical example, 
has been to spread false information as to what 
armament firms in other countries are doing or 
preparing to do. Just as an armament tout gets 
an order for one battleship at Buenos Ayres, and 
then uses this to procure an order for two at Rio, 
so do the rival Admiralties and co-operating arma- 
ment companies of Western Europe laud the 
efficiency and magnify the power of the potential 

* Is there any one now who can bring himself to believe 
that this and the preceding sentences were within any 
reasonable distance of the truth ? But they sounded awful. 
The sentence which follows is the key to the whole panic. 
In this connection one of the most interesting figures is that 
of Mr. MuUiner, for whose appearances students of the Panic 
may refer to a series of articles in the Daily News (May 1913), 
entitled " Armaments and Patriotism." 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 73 

enemy in order to divert an ever larger stream of 
taxes into their own purse. From this point of 
view the invention of the Dreadnought has been a 
perfect godsend, and I often think that those who 
started, and advertised, and perpetuated the delusion, 
with all its fashionable follies and puerile panics, 
have received very inadequate recognition. They 
ought to be crowned every year by the Armour 
Plate ring.^ 

If the secret information furnished for trade pur- 
poses by members of the Armour Plate ring, usually 
to the Press, or the War Office, or Admiralty, but 
on special occasions to prominent politicians also 
(who swallow greedily anything of this kind), could 
be revealed, a good deal of light might be thrown 
upon this debate. It is also to be remembered, 
in contemplating the tissue of false forecasts upon 
which this whole panic and panic expenditure were 
built up, that our Admiralty and War Office were 
at this time letting loose quite a swarm of spies, 
who served the double purpose of supplying false 
information to subserve expansion of armaments, 
and of increasing the ill-feeling which had been 
already worked up between England and Germany. 

• There is a delightfully naive passage in this speech of 
Mr. McKenna's explaining how " the advent of this new and 
improved machine [the Dreadnought] has materially cur- 
tailed the profitable life of our previously existing fleet." 



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74 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

So much for the forecasts with which, aided by 
the Intelligence Department of the Admiralty, Mr. 
McKenna had been able to provide the House of 
Commons. They were the basis on which he built up 
his Estimates. But there was a further prize to be 
gained. There were the contingent Dreadnoughts. 
Give the House of Commons and the public a 
still more alarming set of statistics, and the jingo 
catch — 

"We want eight, 
We won't wait," 

might be set to official music. 

And so Mr. McKenna was followed by Mr. 
Balfour, who, as ex-Prime Minister, and originator 
of the Defence Committee, spoke with peculiar 
authority, and played with more than his usual 
skill on the nerves of the simpler sort. Of course, 
he had " never risen on any occasion " with a greater 
sense of responsibility or a greater sense of "the 
immense effect on national destiny which may result," 
etc After a few preliminaries of this kind, the 
great debater suddenly declared that the question 
was not whether we were maintaining a two-Power 
standard, but whether we were maintaining a one- 
Power standard. His speech and that of the 
Prime Minister afterwards almost suggested that 
the safety of the Empire had been provided for 
by a preliminary consultation between the leaders of 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 75 

Peace and Retrenchment and the leaders of naval 
and military expansion. Mr. Balfour mocked at the 
Hague Conference. While we were trying to en- 
courage an imaginary and illusory reduction of 
armaments the German Government " logically and 
naturally occupied all the time that we expended 
in nursing these empty hopes, these vain expecta- 
tions, in not only building ships and laying down 
ships, but what is of far more importance, making 
those enormous preparations, that immense expendi- 
ture upon plant, machinery, slips, and docks which 
have put them, as the right hon. gentleman him- 
self admitted, in a position, compared with us, 
which no nation up to the present time has ever 
yet been." 

After complaining that the Government had laid 
down only three Dreadnoughts a year instead of four, 
which was the number his own Government had 
proposed in a memorandum, Mr. Balfour enlarged 
and descanted on "the immense development of 
German potential output," ^ and " the extraordinary 
state of peril we are likely to be in in 191 1," which 
he had himself foreseen in 1908 and now regarded 
as certain. He insisted that Germany could now 
build as fast or faster than England. He declared 
that the Germans had already advanced their pro- 

' For Mr. Mulliner's share in these illusions, see extracts 
g iven in the articles in the Daily News, referred to previously. 



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;6 FIFTH OR DRfiADNOUGHT PANIC 

gramme " by four or five months." Mr. Balfour then 
proceeded as follows: — 



On the two years' basis of building we shall in December 
1910 as I calculate have ten, and only ten Dreadnoughts. 
But the Germans at that date, as I calculate, will have 
thirteen. That assumes of course that I am right in stating 
— and I do not think I shall be contradicted— that the 
Germans anticipated their programme by four months. If 
you work that out, and assume that the German ships begun 
last November, in anticipation by five months of the ordinary 
date are completed in two years, then you will find I am not 
wrong in sa3^ng that in December 1910 we shall only have 
ten Dreadnoughts and the Germans will have thirteen." 



This "danger period," he added, extended from 
December 19 10 to March 191 1. Then from April ist 
to July the Germans would have thirteen Dread- 
noughts to our twelve. After July our number 
would rise to fourteen, but in the meanwhile the 
Germans would have seventeen. This was too 
much for the Prime Minister, who ejaculated, " In 
July 1911?" Then came the following dialogue: — 

Mr. Balfour. Yes. Of course, that depends on what they 
lay down this year. It is admitted on all hands that they will 
have thirteen in 191 1. 

Mr. Churchill. No, no. 

Mr, Balfour. Yes, that is right. There is no doubt they 
will have thirteen on April ist, 191 1. 

Mr. McKenna. My own opinion is that they will have 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 77 

thirteen completed in August 191 1.* They will not have 
thirteen completed in April 191 1. 

Mr. Balfour. That is because the right hon. gentleman 
makes them build in more than two years, and if you do that 
I think you must equally make us build iil more than two 
years. Experience of the past has shown us that in the last 
few years we have not built in twenty-four months, and 
those causes may affect us in the future, as they may affect 
Germany, but assuming the same standard of shipbuilding, 
then I say, according to my calculation, the Germans will 
have thirteen on April ist, and if they lay down four ships 
this year before July they will add to those thirteen four in 
191 1, and they will then have seventeen— again, of course, on 
the two years' basis. 

Mr. McKenna. I should Uke to explain to the right hon. 
gentleman that the four ships for the next German financial 
year are the ships in respect of which I am informed that 
materials and armaments have already been begun. Those 
are the four ships which were to be laid down— technically 
laid down— on April ist. The right hon. gentleman is sup- 
posing that another four ships will be laid down. The four 
ships of the 1909-10 programme will be laid down techni- 
cally on April ist, 1909, but the right hon. gentleman must 
not suppose that another four ships will be laid down on 
April ist. 

Mr. Balfour. That is exactly what I do suggest. I am very 
grateful to my right hon. friend for having interrupted me, 
because there is really no dispute as to the facts, except that 
he seems perfectly confident that the four ships of the what 
I call German anticipated ships were not laid down. My 
anticipation was, and is, that they were laid down. 

Mr. McKenna. I would not like to express any decided 
opinion as to whether any of them have or have not been laid 

« As a matter of fact, on March 31, 191 2, Germany had 9 
Dreadnoughts in commission and Great Britain 15. 



ii 



7S FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

down, but that they wiU be declared officially laid down on 
April I St. 

Mr. Balfour. The information I have given me was, rightly 
or wrongly, that those ships were laid down last year. The 
right hon. gentleman is not prepared either to assent or to 
contradict that proposition. He says, what is, to me, I admit, 
very immaterial, that they will be officially announced as laid 
down on April ist next. What we want to know is whether 
they were, and, still more, whether those ships, which, no 
doubt, were in the programme for 1909 year, if they were laid 
down in November, as I believe they were, that means that 
the Germans laid down eight Dreadnoughts last year. They 
may lay down no Dreadnoughts this year. They may say, 
and the Government apparently think they are going to say', 
" We anticipated the four ships for 1909-10 by laying them 
down in November. Therefore we have no ships this 
financial year." But there are two other things they may do. 
Having laid down eight ships last year, they may lay down 
four ships this year, or they may do this year what they did 
last, and add eight ships. Of the capacity of their yards, and 
of their great engineering shops nobody now doubts. It has 
been practically admitted by the right hon. gentleman. 

Therefore I say I was right in my original estimate that we 
have to count on the possibility of there being seventeen 
Dreadnoughts to our fourteen in July, 191 1, and that even 
when the two ships laid down next November are built we 
shall then be only sixteen Dreadnoughts to the Germans 
seventeen. And then, if the Germans go on at the rate 
which is more than possible, the probabUity is that they 
will have on April i, 1912, twenty-one Dreadnoughts to our 
twenty. The hypotheses are these— I want to make it per- 
fecUy clear to the Government and to the House-eight 
Dreadnoughts laid down in 1908 by Germany ; and if four are 
laid down in 1909 there will be seventeen on April i 1912 
If eight are laid down this year, as eight have been laid'down 
last year, there will be twenty-one on April i, 1912, to our 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 79 

twenty. And if the Germans imitate the policy of the present 
Government and lay down not only their eight in the financial 
year, but, as well, demand a new group of four when the 
Government propose to begin their new group of four — 
namely, on April ist — they will then have twenty-five. 

Mr. McKenna. No (the rest of the statement was 

inaudible). 

Mr. Balfour. I think not. What the right hon. gentleman 
said across the table to me was that while that might be 
possible on paper it was beyond the constructive power of the 
German shops and the German yards — in other words, that 
they cannot lay down eight this year and four at the beginning 
of the next financial year. Well, sir, that is not the informa- 
tion which has reached me. He may have, and has, access 
to better information. Yes ; but observe it is not so very easy 
to know what the Germans know. When did the Govern- 
ment discover they were laying down their four ships in 
November? When did the Government discover that the 
Germans deserved the warm eulogy passed upon them by 
the First Lord of the Admiralty with regard to the immense 
unprecedented development of their powers of turning out 
those great battleships, and (what is almost more important) 
the turrets and guns without which the great battleships 
are useless ? 

Mr. Balfour then improved on the awfulness of the 
situation by hinting that the Admiralty did not know 
the worst about Germany's secret preparations in its 
docks and shipyards. Mr. McKenna had admitted 
it to be possible for Germany to have twenty-one 
Dreadnoughts on April i, 191 2. He believed she 
might have twenty-five.^ He had done his "very 

» When the date arrived Germany had nine ! 



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8o FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

best to check the figures." He had not proposed 
the problem " in an alarmed spirit. " He had been 
forced to it most reluctantly against all the traditions 
of British statesmanship. And why? 

Now for the first time in modern history we are face 
to face with a novel situation, so new, so dangerous, that 
it is very difficult for us thoroughly to realise all that it 
imports. For the first time there is bordering upon the 
North Sea, upon our own waters, the waters that bathe our 
own shores, a great Power that has got the capacity, and 
looks as if it had the will, to compete with us in point of 
actual numbers in respect of those great battleships. I am 
afraid nothing can be done ; it is too late to do anything 
with regard to the years that precede November 191 1. 
What has been done has been done with regard to that. 
I look at even that period with the greatest anxiety, but we 
can do nothing now to remedy it. No activity on the part 
of our dockyards, no generosity on the part of our taxpayers, 
can make good that deficiency, if that deficiency does indeed 
exist. Let us without recriminations turn to that period of 
the future with regard to which we can do something. That 
portion of the future is that which lies within what I may 
call the scope and reach of the building programme with 
which this House has now got to deal. 

Thus Mr. Balfour at the end of this consummately 
clever and successful speech was getting to business. 
More money for the Navy. An addition of nearly 
three millions to the Estimates and the programme 
presented were " utterly insufficient." He complained 
that Mr. McKenna had spoken of the cost with 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 81 

alarm. " I thought," he said, " that the financial 
alarm would be far overshadowed by that greater 
and more dominating alarm which for the first 
time has come home to me with regard to the 
actual command of the sea in our own waters." 
But he welcomed the "security no matter at what 
cost" part of the First Lord's statement and called 
upon the Government to live up to it, however much 
it might embarrass their budget. It would be unfair 
after all this to withhold from the student of the 
Fifth Panic Mr. Balfour's peroration : — 

I therefore do most earnestly beg the Government and the 
Committee to consider not indeed in any spirit of panic, but 
with a full recognition of the absolutely novel and, as I think, 
alarming circumstance in which this country finds itself, 
whether they cannot do something with the enormous re- 
sources which we have at our disposal in the way of the 
building of ships, guns, turrets, and our power of finding the 
necessary funds for dealing with the question of national 
defence. I ask them not to hesitate, not to delay, but to use 
to the utmost and as quickly as possible, without paltering, 
every possible machine which they have at their disposal for 
restoring to this country what I greatly fear we have tem- 
porarily lost — not that two-Power standard, which is far 
beyond question in this debate, but the one- Power standard 
in the matter of ships of first-class power, which for the 
first time in our history seems to be slipping from our 
grasp. 

The House will see that I have dealt with the fundamental 
and vital aspect of the subject of national defence, and I 
hope the Prime Minister will see that this discussion can 
go no further, that we cannot touch on other details of the 

G 




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U;* 



82 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

Navy Estimates, however important, until we are satisfied 
that everything is being done which national honour and 
national safety require. 

The Prime Minister*s very first sentence showed 
that the words of the Leader of the Opposition had 
not fallen on stony ground : — " I do not in the least 
complain of either the tone or the substance of the 
right honourable gentleman's speech." It was not, 
he said, a party issue, but a question of the Empire's 
safety. A Government which sacrificed Empire to 
expediency or tactics " would be well Reserving of 
the condemnation which history always pronounces 
upon those who are false to a great public trust." 
He would therefore deal with these grave matters 
in "a detached and certainly not a party spirit." 
First of all the whole strength of the fleet had to be 
considered, not the mere strength of Dreadnoughts. 
By enlarging on this, the Premier might have dispelled 
the panic atmosphere ; but unfortunately he passed 
at once to the German Peril. He spoke of our 
"friendly and open " diplomatic intercourse with Ger- 
many, but added that the naval expenditure of the 
German Government was governed solely by reference 
to their own needs. Of this " we have been assured 
more than once, and in the most formal manner." 
. . . " It is perfectly clear that there is no room for 
a mutual arrangement for reduction. I regret it very 
much, but I do not complain. The Germans, like 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 83 

every other nation, are the best judges of their own 
national requirements. It is no business of ours to 
offer either criticism or advice, but to accept the facts 
as they state them ; and we must adapt our pro- 
gramme to our national requirements." He went on 
to declare that the Government was not setting the 
pace, but was most anxious to slacken it, and further 
that they were not animated by any unfriendly inten- 
tions to Germany. They were acting to preserve 
supremacy at sea "solely according to the elementary 
instinct of self - preservation." Mr. Balfour had 
attacked Sir H. Campbell-Bannerman's Adminis- 
tration for not building more Dreadnoughts. Mr. 
Asquith defended his predecessor on the ground that 
"nothing is worse than to over-build yourselves in 
great ships." Particular types so soon become obso- 
lete that those who control the money of taxpayers 
should hold their hand, and not exceed the requisite 
margin of superiority. In the last three years they 
had kept up the requisite margin of strength. Then 
as to Dreadnoughts or *• capital ships" (though he 
did not much like the phrase), Mr. Asquith read out a 
table of Dreadnought dates supplied to him by the 
Admiralty. He called it the Admiralty computation ; 
and as it was upon these figures, authenticated by 
Mr. McKenna, that the Prime Minister persuaded 
his reluctant followers to pass the Estimates, and 
subsequently (in spite of an official denial from 





A 



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84 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

Germany) to authorize the programme of contingent 
Dreadnoughts, they must be here set out : — 

THE DREADNOUGHT TABLE. 



December, 1910. Great Britain, 10. 



» 



$i 



n 



» 



ti 



10. Germany, 


5. 


12. 


9(5). 


12. 


II. 


14- 


II. 


16. 


13- 


16 or 20. „ 


13 or 17 (9). 



March, 1911. 
May, „ 

August, 
November, „ 
March, 191 2. 

(The figures in brackets are the true figures which the 
mighty expansion of the German yards actualjy produced.) 

Mr. Asquith then proceeded at some length to 
explain the novel provision in the Estimates. We 
have taken power, he said, to lay down on April i, 
1910, four more Dreadnoughts "if the necessity 
should arise, that is, if the acceleration of the German 
programme goes on. . . . Supposing that power we 
have taken becomes exercisable we shall have 20 
ships [in April, 1912]. . . . The Germans by that 
time may have 17." If by additional acceleration 
they were likely to attain Mr. Balfour*s figure of 21, 
there would be plenty of time to make further pro- 
vision to advance beyond 20. "But I must say — 
and it is fair and right to the German Government 
that I should say it — that we have had a most distinct 
declaration from them that it is not their intention 
to accelerate their programme." He believed most 
implicitly in the good faith of this declaration, though 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 85 

it was not a pledge or agreement, and though there 
would be no bad faith if they altered their intention, 
and laid down 8 ships in one financial year as Mr. 
Balfour had suggested.^ Then in answer to an inter- 
jection from Mr. Balfour the Prime Minister added : 
"I said 17 was a possibility — 13 is a certainty. It 
is because 17 is a possibility that we are taking this 
power ; ^ otherwise we should not take it at all." 

The Prime Minister went on to say that his 
previous estimates of German construction had not 
"been verified by subsequent experience," though 
he " spoke of course on instruction," and " got his 
information from the best possible sources." He 
agreed with Mr. Balfour that his estimates had been 
falsified because he had assumed (i) that the paper 
programme of Germany would not be exceeded, and 
(2) that the German rate of shipbuilding would not 
be more than thirty months per ship. He was sorry 
to say that subsequent experience had falsified both 
assumptions. The Germans had accelerated both 
their programme and their rate of shipbuilding. As 
to the speed of construction : — " This is a fatal and 

' A few minutes before Mr. Balfour had intervened to say : 
" I quite believe that the Germans would only have four or 
five [Dreadnoughts] in March, 1910, but in December, 1910, 
they will have 13." As a matter of fact Germany had only 5 
in commission on March 31, 1911 ! 

' "To lay down if need be four ships on ist April next 
year." 




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86 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

most serious fact. We have both these sets of con- 
siderations. Both of them, I agree, invalidate the 
hypotheses which only a year ago I addressed to the 
House when speaking on this topic. I think that 
hon. members on this side of the House should think 
twice or thrice before they refuse to the Government 
the power which we are asking the House to give." 
They asked it in the supreme interest of national 
security. There was no set of men more anxious than 
ministers " to save money for the purposes of social 
reform or to get rid of this horrible, devastating, and 
sterilising expenditure." 

Some suspected, but no one could prove, that the 
Prime Minister had been hoaxed. He spoke with 
official authority, and as all his forecasts were capped 
by the Opposition they naturally produced a pro- 
digious effect. Hitherto the reading public had dis- 
counted the panic-mongering of the Tory press 
because almost every Liberal newspaper had ridiculed 
the scare, and had shown by official figures that 
British naval preponderance over Germany was over- 
whelming in every branch of the fleet. But now how 
could the man in the street believe critics who de- 
clared that the Admiralty had found a German 
mare's nest ? The Admiralty experts, in close associa- 
tion as it would seem with the armour-plate interests, 
had managed after a long controversy to impose a 
very heavy additional programme on the Cabinet. 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC S7 

When the decision was once taken, and the Prime 
Minister had adopted the false official forecasts, 
he had to encounter hostility in the party ranks. 
He knew that this sudden and sensational addition 
to naval expenditure, following immediately upon 
his succession to the Premiership, was regarded 
with deep suspicion and dislike by Radicals and 
Labour men, as well as by the Liberals of the 
Manchester school. He was therefore led to paint 
a gloomy picture of impending danger. In order to 
induce his party to swallow the Estimates he had to 
represent them as an indispensable provision for 
securing the safety of the country two or three years 
later. He persuaded himself that what the spies 
and intelligence men and experts told him was true, 
and he persuaded the House also. From this point 
of view it was a masterly and successful performance. 
But his very success in the House of Commons pro- 
duced for the first time something in the nature of 
a general panic, or at least a real uneasiness among 
the outside public. The Tories of course were 
delighted, the Liberals felt depressed and humiliated ; 
for the scare they had ridiculed had been treated by 
their leader as a grave reality. He had given the 
whole weight of his authority to the forecasts by 
which it was supported. He had burnt what they 
had adored and adored what they had burnt. " It 
was the speech of the Prime Minister," as Mr. Balfour 




.f: 










88 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

remarked complacently a few days later,' " which, I 
think, has caused this anxious feeling throughout the 
country." It is much easier to produce an impression 
of this kind than to dissipate it ; but on March iSth, 
when the House went into Committee on Vote A of 
the Navy Estimates, Mr. Asquith— in response to a 
wild anti-German speech by Mr. Wyndham pressing 
for more expenditure in all directions, and to a plea 
for caution and moderation from Sir Charles Dilke— 
poured cold water and ridicule upon the panic- 
mongers with a cheerful vigour which seemed to 
show that he at any rate had not suffered in health 
or spirits from contemplating the gravity of the 
national peril.^ He began by expressing general 
agreement with Sir Charles Dilke, whom he thanked 
for bringing out points ignored in the extraordinary 
and "very artificial" agitation which was "going 
on outside." As between the British and German 
Governments he was glad to think "there is on this 
matter not only no friction, no unfriendliness, or 
suspicion," but a common feeling that each must act 
independently as regards national defence, and that 
neither could complain of the other's naval pro- 
gramme. He went on to say that, in spite of the 

' " The debate in this House has alarmed the country," said 
another member. "It is impossible to open a newspaper 
without seeing nearly a page devoted to the alarm felt through- 
out the country" (Mr. Bellairs).— Hansard, March i8th, 1909. 

• The Estimates, of course, were by this time secure. 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 89 



figures he had disclosed and the speeches he and the 
First Lord of the Admiralty had made and the new 
state of things which had come into existence since 
last year, " there was no occasion for anything in the 
nature, I will not say of panic, but of alarm or even 
disquiet." What, then, was his object in addressing 
the House a second time ? 

"It is to dissipate as far as I can — and I think I 
shall be able to do so completely — the absurd and 
mischievous legends to which currency is being given 
at this moment as to the supposed naval unprepared- 
ness of this country. A more unpatriotic, a more 
unscrupulous misrepresentation of the actual situa- 
tion than that which is now being presented in some 
quarters I have never experienced." The Prime 
Minister then proceeded to make the speech 
which might have come on this occasion from a 
leader of the Opposition like Disraeli, if he had been 
minded to put the taxpayers' case against a further 
expansion of naval armaments. First of all he said 
they would have at the end of the year in commis- 
sion nine Dreadnoughts to Germany's two. " There 
is nothing very alarming in that. If I may say so, 
the old women of both sexes, whose slumbers are at 
present being disturbed by fantastic visions of flotillas 
of German Dreadnoughts suflficient to land an in- 
vading army on our shores, may dream without any 
apprehension for another twelve months." But far 



i\ 



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90 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

more important was the comparative list of pre-Dread- 
nought battleships. A full-length survey followed. 
In 191 2 (the Danger Year!), he said, we should have 
40 first-class battleships apart from Dreadnoughts 
displacing 585,000 tons, many of them, like the 
Lord Nelson and Agamemnon, in the first bloom of 
youth, aftd all in full fighting effective strength. 
Against these Germany would have twenty dis- 
placing 241,000 tons. The British 40 were not only 
bigger but carried more and bigger guns — 152 twelve- 
inch guns against 40 eleven-inch guns on the German 
ships. " It is ridiculous to pretend that we shall be 
in a position of inferiority as compared with Germany 
or any other power in the world in 1912." Passing 
from battleships to armoured cruisers, Great Britain 
in 191 2 would have 35 of 416,000 tons displacement 
to Germany's eight of 78,500 tons displacement, 
carrying 68 nine-inch guns to their six ! He might 
have added that of submarine craft we were expected 
in 1912 to possess 84 to Germany's i6.* Mr. Balfour 
who followed did not attempt to question the correct- 
ness of these figures,aand their significance was driven 

' See Navy League Annual for 1910, p. 239. 

» Yet on March 29th Mr. Balfour moved a vote of censure 
on the Government. In this speech he referred to an inter- 
view he had had with " a great contractor," and complained 
that the Government had not given instructions to the great 
armament contractors to prepare for large orders until his 
vote of censure was on the table. 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 91 

home by Mr. Winston Churchill (then President of 
the Board of Trade) in a letter to his new con- 
stituents at Dundee, which earned him much abuse 
from the Yellow Press. He ridiculed " the Dread- 
nought fear-all school " and added : " It is lucky the 
sailors don't believe them." All battleships, great 
and small, new and old, " are equally a prey to the 
submarine, to the torpedo boat, and the floating 
mine." The British navy had double as many sailors 
and they were picked twelve-years service men 
against three-year conscripts. Our whole naval 
strength was more nearly thrice than twice that of 
Germany. The German invasion scare was " a false, 
lying panic started in the party interests of the Con- 
servatives." In the following month at Manchester he 
denounced " a braggart and sensational expenditure 
on armaments " and described his personal antipathy 
to it as an inherited peculiarity.^ "We live in a 
period of superficial alarms," he told the Edinburgh 
people, " when it is thought patriotic and statesman- 
like, far-seeing, clever, and Bismarckian to predict 
hideous and direful wars as imminent." He could 
see no real antagonism of interests between England 
and Germany. The Government, he promised his 
constituents, would not be driven by the "windy 
agitation of ignorant, interested, and excited hot- 

' " I have always been against that, as my father was before 
me," 






i 



92 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

heads into wasting the pubh'c money upon arma- 
ments upon a scale clearly not designed merely for 
purposes of material defence, but being a part of 
a showy, sensational, aggressive, and Jingo policy, 
which is supposed to gain popularity from certain 
unthinking sections of the community. We take 
our stand against that." 

But the most effective of the purple, anti-panic 
patches with which Mr. Churchill adorned his social 
and economic rhetoric remains to be quoted : — 

In my judgment a Liberal is a man who ought to stand as 
a restraining force against an extravagant policy. He is a 
man who ought to keep cool in the presence of Jingo clamour. 
He is a man who believes that confidence between nations 
begets confidence, and that the spirit of peace and goodwill 
makes the safety it seeks. And above all, I think, a Liberal is 
a man who should keep a sour look for scaremongers of every 
kind and every size, however distinguished, however ridiculous 
—and sometimes the most distinguished are the most ridiculous 
—a cold, chilling, sour look for all of them, whether that panic 
comes from the sea, or from the air, or from the earth, or from 
the waters under the earth. ' 

Meanwhile the panic raged furiously on every Tory 
platform and in every Tory newspaper. Lord Roths- 
child presided over a Mansion House meeting which 

' This and most of the previous quotations are from 
"Liberalism and the Social Problem," a volume of Mr. 
Churchill's speeches carefully revised by himself, with a pre- 
face in which he pressed his opinions and arguments 
"earnestly and insistently on the public," 



ii 



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FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 93 



called upon the Government at all costs to build the 
eight Dreadnoughts at once. The scare certainly 
damaged the Liberal candidate in the Croydon by- 
election at the end of March, when bands of youths 
paraded the streets singing, "We want eight; we 
won't wait." But about the same time the approach 
of the Budget began to exercise a sobering influence 
which was also reflected by Sir Edward Grey. He 
said, speaking of naval and military expenditure in 
Europe : " You may call it national insurance. That 
is perfectly true ; but it is equally true that half the 
national revenue of the great countries in Europe is 
being spent on what are, after all, preparations to kill 
each other. Surely the extent to which this expendi- 
ture has grown really becomes a satire and a reflec- 
tion on civilisation. Not in our generation perhaps ; 
but if it goes on at the rate at which it has recently 
increased sooner or later, I believe it will submerge 
that civilisation." The burden, he added, " if it goes 
on at this rate must lead to national bankruptcy." 
About this time a very friendly speech was made by 
Prince Billow, the German Chancellor, who stated 
definitely that Germany would have only 13 Dread- 
noughts in 191 2; and on April 21st a debate was 
initiated in the House of Commons on the policy of 
prize money and capture at sea when a number of 
enlightened and independent members of both parties 
(among them Messrs. F. E. Smith, J. A. Simon, and 



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94 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

J. M. Robertson) advanced strong arguments for 
abandoning a policy which clearly contributes to the 
insecurity of commerce and to the rivalry in naval 
armaments. A few days later came the tremendous 
budget ; and in the political convulsion it produced the 
fear of a German invasion fell into the background. 
A prospective deficit of nearly 14 millions, due mainly 
to Old Age Pensions and the Expansion of Arma- 
ments, was met partly by additional taxes on tobacco, 
spirits, and motoring ; partly by graduating the death 
duties and income-tax. The super-tax on high 
incomes was invented to pay for the super-Dread- 
nought. It has proved to be, as I once called it, the 
greatest armour-plate budget of modern times. It 
was a prompt, bold, startling, and decisive interpreta- 
tion of a new scale of expenditure in terms of a new 
scale of taxation. As a revenue producer it has been 
marvellously successful. From a Conservative stand- 
point it was the greatest misfortune which has 
befallen the country since 1832, for in an effort to 
destroy it the House of Lords came to grief Two 
General Elections were won by Mr. Asquith. The 
Parliament Act was placed upon the Statute Book, 
and a Home Rule Bill was passed for the first time 
through the House of Commons. All this long train 
of woe may be traced by any intelligent Tory to the 
fact that his leaders surrendered to the pressure 
of tariff reformers and scaremongers. But for these 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 95 

two surrenders "the people's budget" would have 
been unnecessary, and the swing of the pendulum 
would almost certainly have restored the Con- 
servative party to power in 1910 or 191 1. 

Thus in its political and financial consequences 
the Panic of 1909 proved of far greater import than 
any of its four predecessors. The absurdity of 
the scare was of course pointed out at the time. 
On March 22, 1909, Sir Charles Dilke, who never 
opposed naval expenditure, remarked in the House 
of Commons : — " Surely we can do without alarm 
at this time, for in regard to ships of every kind 
we have a much greater naval preponderance than 
we ever had." Mr. Massingham's courageous anti- 
panic articles in The Nation were echoed in many 
quarters. I find that I wrote on February 6th in 
The Economist',—'' K^ some people in the City appear 
to be almost as much frightened as The Standard^ 
which talks of a hundred million loan, and suggests 
that our naval expenditure should be 82 millions, 
we may perhaps usefully mention two or three sets 
of facts and figures. In the last ten years Great 
Britain has spent some 3CXD millions on her navy; 
Germany some 108 millions on hers. Our expendi- 
ture is now about 34 millions, that of Germany 17 
or 18 millions. The tonnage of our effective war- 
ships is about 1,852,000, that of Germany's about 
628,000 tons." Though I had then no adequate 




II 



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96 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

notion of the underground influences in the arma- 
noient business it seemed to me highly probable in 
view of these figures that the scare had been 
" worked up by interested parties." 

But it is time to return from the fictions to the 
facts, and I will prove to the satisfaction of every 
reader that the Panic was a bogus panic, that the 
Government and the Opposition leaders deceived 
themselves and the House with bogus figures — in 
short, that the whole thing was an imposture from 
beginning to end, of which a self-respecting country 
ought to be thoroughly ashamed. 

In the first place the responsibility for the tables 
rests with Mr. McKenna. They were supplied by 
his own department — whether by means of spies 
(of whom there was a perfect plague at this time) 
or by Krupp, or by British armament firms, or by 
the imagination of the Naval Intelligence De- 
partment, neither the public nor the House of 
Commons has ever been informed. After their 
appearance they were authoritatively denied by 
the German Government; but in spite of Mr. 
Asquith's expression of most implicit belief in 
the German Government's good faith, and in spite 
of his declaration that power to build the con- 
tingent Dreadnoughts was only taken in case the 
German Government changed its intention so as to 
have 17 Dreadnoughts in March 191 2, neverthe- 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 97 

less the contingent Dreadnoughts were laid down 
and the exercisable power was exercised. A year 
passed. The table of the Navy League Annual, 
published in 1910, showed that in spite of Mr. 
Balfour's denials "speed in construction is still in 
our favour," the average time for constructing a 
British Dreadnought being 26 months as against 
34 months for a German. Nevertheless on March 
14, 1910, Mr. McKenna, who had another heavy 
addition to the Estimates on his hands, was still 
outwardly confident about the truth of his naval 
forecasts, and he thus reinformed the House of 
Commons: — "As regards the statement which I 
made last year I have nothing to withdraw. And 
our programme this year is framed now upon our 
actual knowledge of what is complete or in the 
course of being completed." But "the danger 
period," when the forecasts would be overtaken by 
the facts, was drawing near, and it must have been 
clear to almost everybody in the Admiralty by the 
autumn of 1910, that the Panic figures were all 
wrong. At last on February 8, 191 1, Mr. Robert 
Harcourt dragged the truth out of Mr. McKenna 
by a series of well-directed interrogatories. If the 
reader will look back he will see that Germany 
was to have 12 Dreadnoughts ready in March 191 1, 
and 16 in November. It was now February 191 1, 
and Mr. McKenna informed Mr. Harcourt that she 



fl 



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98 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

had only 5 and further stated that she could not 
possibly have ready more than 9 by the end of 
the year — 9 at most instead of 16 ! As to the 
year 191 2, the Admiralty which had seen so clearly 
in 1909 and 1910 was now in a fog. The Admiralty, 
said Mr. McKenna, had no information as to whether 
4 German Dreadnoughts has yet been either 
ordered or commenced, but " it is expected they 
will be delivered from the shipyards in the spring 
of 191 3." Mr. McKenna added : — " I do not expect 
21 German Dreadnoughts to have been delivered 
from the shipyards in the calendar year 191 3." That 
was a mild statement. According to the last Navy 
League Annual^ Germany is only to have 19 ready 
in March 19 14. 

"What is to be done?" asked a puzzled critic. 
" These false statements were used to extract from 
the House of Commons the monstrously swollen 
estimates of 1909 and 1910, to secure the laying 
down of eight Dreadnoughts in 1909 and five Dread- 
noughts in 19 10, and to terrify the colonies into the 
panic-stricken provision of two additional Dread- 
noughts. Surely this colossal blundering constituted 
an offence against the House of Commons, against 
the taxpayer, against the colonies, and against 
Germany." The Nation thought that " Mr. McKenna 
must realise that his personal position is a serious 
one." How could the House of Commons accept his 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 99 

statements in the future? How could it put any 
confidence in his judgment? Patriotic people may 
and do differ about standards of naval strength ; but 
there can be no question among us as to what 
standard of truth and accuracy is required of 
Ministers. There may be mistakes made in good 
faith ; but mistakes publicly made in good faith 
should be publicly corrected and repaired the 
moment they are found out ; and prompt economies 
should have been effected the moment it was dis- 
covered that the forecasts on which the extraordinary 
programmes of 1909 and 19 10 were based had proved 
so utterly wide of the mark. But the Government 
never even apologised. Mr. McKenna — who was 
transferred to the Home Office later in the year 
to make way for Mr. Churchill — never told Parlia- 
ment at what time he discovered these mountainous 
errors, though he quoted a statement which reads 
like a partial withdrawal made on March 26, 1909, of 
the forecast he had made on March i6th. He argued 
indeed that certain facts justified his original pre- 
sumptions, but he did not explain when or why the 
facts and presumptions went by the board, or why he 
did not immediately come to the House of Commons, 
retail the good news, and revise his estimates in the 
interests of honesty and the taxpayer. There is a 
department called the Naval Intelligence Department 
at the Admiralty, from which, possibly, Mr. McKenna 




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B 



TOO FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

may have drawn the German statistics on which 
he based his increase of three and a half millions 
in 1909, and five and a half millions in 1910. To 
this department the House of Commons voted in 
1910 the sum of ^^16,185. 

And what is to be said of the fanciful and fictitious 
forecasts contributed to the Panic by Mr. Balfour? 
Beside his statements the exaggerations of the 
Admiralty look almost modest. He has lost no credit 
in official circles as prophet or strategist. In fact, in 
the spring of 191 3 he was invited to join the new 
unparliamentary cabinet, which goes by the name of 
the Committee of Imperial Defence. And yet it 
was Mr. Balfour who at the Navy League Meet- 
ing in the Guildhall on March 31, 1909, had 
demanded "eight Dreadnoughts this year and 
eight next." 

Thus the forecasts on which the German Invasion 
Panic was based were overtaken by facts, and as the 
fears and suspicions died away the efforts to improve 
Anglo-German relations gradually bore fruit In the 
autumn of 191 2 the National Liberal Federation 
asked the Government to conclude an understanding 
with Germany similar to that which existed with 
France, and in the difficult Balkan negotiations of 
that winter and the following spring a peaceful 
solution as between the Great Powers was achieved 
by Anglo-German co-operation. 



FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 101 

Let me conclude this account with a few figures to 
illustrate the financial sequela and statistical environ- 
ment of the Dreadnought or German Panic. Here 
is the total naval expenditure of Great Britain, 
Germany, and Austria from 1901 to 191 2, in pounds 
sterling : — 



1 1 



Great Britain 
Germany ... 
Austria 



456 millions 
179 

38 



»» 



f» 



The results of the Panic may be set out in a com- 
parison of British and German naval expenditure 
between 1907 and 191 2: — 



Great Britain... 
Germany 



Naval Expenditure 

for the Year 

1907-8. 



32,735767 
14,225,000 



Naval Expenditure 

for the Year 

1912-13. 



45»6i6,540 
22,609,540 



Total Increase. 



12,880,773 
8,384*540 



This increased charge of nearly 13 millions — which 
seems certain to grow under Mr. Churchill's manage- 
ment — represents in round figures the interest on a 
capital of 400 millions sterling, say, two-thirds of the 
national debt. Its meaning in terms of social welfare 
may be got at by comparing the amount now raised 




^ 



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102 FIFTH OR DREADNOUGHT PANIC 

by the taxation of certain foods. These taxes worked 
out as follows in 191 1 : — 



Cocoa, Coffee, and Chicory 
Currants, Raisins, and Dried Fruits 
oU^ar ••• ••• ••« ••• ••• 

M ca ••• >•• ••• ••• ••• 



£ 

602,695 

475.239 

. 3*059.455 
. 6,159,070 

£10,296,459 



All these duties, paid mainly by weekly wage-earners, 
might be swept away for less than the sum which, 
through panic and Anglo-German suspicions, has 
gone into the building of extra warships, a sum which, 
compelling other powers to increase their expendi- 
ture at a like rate, does not leave us one bit more 
"safe" in proportion than we were five years ago. 



THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 

MR. CHURCHILL'S language after he became 
First Lord of the Admiralty quickly reas- 
sured those who had feared that he might prove " an 
economist as my father was before me." The 
pledge of substantial retrenchments in our navy 
estimates, given by the Chancellor of the Exchequer 
in 191 1, was broken, and the economists were again 
disappointed, despite a large reduction in Germany's 
naval programme. Towards the end of February 
191 3, after Mr. Churchill's proposal for a r6 ratio 
(eight Dreadnoughts English to five German) had 
been accepted by Admiral Tirpitz, the Panic-mongers 
decided that the naval situation was too unpromising, 
and fell back upon the Air. Hasty and rather crude 
arrangements were made for staging a new perform- 
ance. Circumstantial reports suddenly began to 
appear in the Batfy Mail, Standard, and other news- 
papers of airships hovering in the dead of night with 
searchlights at various points along the East Coast. 
The Daily Mail took up Airships and Aeroplanes 

with as much enthusiasm as if they had been old 

103 



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104 THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 

flour mills, and pressed for Government expenditure 
upon these craft with the same disinterested zeal for 
public security which it had exhibited for public 
health when it was promoting the purchase of Daily 
Mail bread. The reporters of the Daily Mail 
furnished material for the Daily Mail which con- 
vinced the editor as easily as the Admiralty's 
intelligence men had convinced Mr, McKenna. 
In a few days the Daily Mail was able to announce : 
" It is now established beyond all question that the 
airships of some foreign Power, presumably German, 
are making regular and systematic flights over this 
country." For sceptical readers more exact and 
topographical statements were prepared. Thus " Air- 
ship over the East Coast. Many Witnesses," was one 
of the headlines in the Daily Mail of February 24th. 
The news began with a couple of introductory para- 
graphs : — 

Evidence of the presence of a mysterious airship over 
Selby, in the West Riding of Yorkshire, on Friday night 
[February 21st], was given on Saturday by a number of 
responsible persons. No one saw the body of the aircraft, 
but lights were seen and the noise of the engines was heard. 
Selby is about forty-five miles inland from Grimsby, and is a 
busy industrial town and market centre on the Ouse. Near 
the town is Barlby Arsenal, where there is stored a great 
quantity of army ammunition. 

Under the new Aerial Navigation Act which is now in force 
foreign airships are liable to be shot at, unless they come to 
earth on a prescribed signal being given. 



THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC lOJ 

Then came the evidence. A solicitor of Selby said 
he had seen two lights in the sky from Doncaster 
Road, Selby, at 9.15 p.m. They were hovering, and 
were too big and bright to be stars. They were like 
the head-light and the tail-light of a motor-car. 
Next came an insurance superintendent, who was 
more positive. He stated that about ten o'clock on 
Friday night he was on the station platform at 
Church Fenton with a party of Selby business men 
when they observed " an airship with a strong search- 
light playing on the railway lines." It was at first 
very high, then it came down so low that it seemed 
that it would strike the roofs of the houses. After 
about twenty minutes in the neighbourhood it left at 
a high speed, and then they observed a red and green 
light on either side. Mr. J. Creasor, of Riccall, in 
the East Riding, stated that an airship with a power- 
ful searchlight was near that place about eight o'clock, 
and the whirr of the engine could be heard. Mr. 
Beckerdyke, a commercial traveller, states that 
between ten and eleven on Friday night, while 
driving near Ellerton, his horse was startled by a 
very bright light " from an airship or something of 
the kind " which went over the road in front of him. 
It was going at a rapid rate in the direction of 
Bridlington. 

" That the airship did pass over Selby Abbey on 
Friday night, making its way for the East Coast, is 






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io6 THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 

undoubted." What could be clearer? First, the 
lights were seen. Then the "noise of the engine" 
was heard. Then they saw the body of the ship — it 
had three wheels, one on each side and one in front, 
and "a faint throbbing noise" came from it. A 
caustic commentator observed that, but for a game- 
keeper, who found the corpse of the fire balloon on 
a moor, somebody in the Mail would have reported 
hearing men "conversing in deep guttural tones" 
in the clouds before the end of the week. It is on 
the basis of hoaxes like this, he added, that demands 
for ;f i,ocx),ocx) for new airships (such had begun to 
appear in the Press) are solemnly produced.' 

On February 25th the Daily Mail came to busi- 
ness with a leading article entitled " Unwelcome 
Visitors," beginning : — " Whether or not we accept 
the circumstantial reports that a strange airship was 
seen hovering over British territory on Friday and 
Saturday, it must be taken as certain that this 
country has recently been visited by foreign air- 
craft." And the writer proceeded : " What is required 
is a large provision for dirigibles in the coming Esti- 
mates, to erect garages and give orders on a large 
scale for airships to British makers. We cannot buy 
these craft abroad." 

Previously, on February 20th, this business side of 
the agitation came to the surface in a news column 
' The Star, February 28, 1913. 



THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 107 

(headed "Aeroplane Purchases — Machines for the 
British Army and Navy ") which ran as follows :— 

Exhibitors at the Aero Exhibition at Olympia express them- 
selves satisfied with the sales of aeroplanes which have so far 
taken place. Among the purchases made for the British 
Government up to the present are :— 

One 80-h.p. Sopwith tractor biplane. Sold to the Admiralty. 
One 50-h.p. Avro biplane. Sold to the Admiralty. 
Two Farman biplanes. Sold by the Aircraft Manufacturing 
Company to the War Office. 

This firm delivered a Maurice Farman biplane to the War 
Office at Farnborough in a forty miles an hour wind yesterday 

morning. 

Other orders have been placed with prominent aeroplane 
manufacturers, but the official notification has not yet been 
received. 

Representatives of the following firms state that their 

current orders include : — 
18 Borel military monoplanes for the French War Office. 
50 Caudron monoplanes for the Chinese Government. 
A number of Bristol aeroplanes for the Spanish Government. 

An appetite for Government orders can never 
be glutted, and although " the exhibitors expressed 
themselves satisfied," their champions in the Press 
were clamouring for more. The Government indeed 
was spending freely. From a reply given about this 
time by Colonel Seely, Secretary of War, to a ques- 
tion in the House of Commons it appears that the 
War Office alone had twenty airship contractors on 
its list ; but he declined to disclose their names. 



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io8 THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 

As a rule, the newspapers in the provinces were 

less credulous than those of London. But the 

Whitby Gazette outdid the Daily Mail, both in what 

it saw and what it felt. At the end of February one 

of its articles was head-lined as follows :— 

WANTED, AN AIR-MINISTER. 



England at Germany's Mercy. 



North-East Coast Surveyed Nightly by Dirigibles. 

Further Appearances of Airship at Whitby. 

The editorial views of this organ (which exerts as 
much influence in Whitby as the Daily Mail in 
Peckham) deserve to be reproduced. 

The marvellous command of the air— and with it the sea 
and the land— achieved by the lighter-than-air vessels of 
Germany is being repeatedly demonstrated to Englishmen by 
night, especially to those dwelling about the north-east coast ; 
and, whilst many people are sceptical regarding these noc- 
turnal visits, others, realizing them as facts, recognize their 
immense significance. We are among the latter, and, since 
the first established fact of the first appearance of an airship 
over the district, it has, as the Frenchman says, "given us 
furiously to think." 

After this introduction it became desirable to 
produce local evidence by way of confirming "the 
flights, on Friday night, over the important naval 
and military centres of Scarborough and Selby (the 
former place having a big 'wireless' station, and 
the latter a huge storage of ammunition)." The 



THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 109 

first witness was a star-gazer in Skinner Street, 
Whitby, who, looking out from his bedroom window, 
had seen a light move slowly across the sky north- 
wards. It was duller than some of the stars and less 
bright than a shooting star ; but after it had been 
under observation for a minute or two it disappeared 
behind some buildings. " I am presuming," added 
this observer, that " I saw the airship." The next 
witness was Mr. William Prentice, junior, whose 
description of the flight of the aerial vessel over the 
neighbourhood of Sleights and Aislaby is the gem of 
the 191 3 collection : — 

" I was walking round by Larpool on Tuesday 
night," he told the Whitby Gazette representative, 
" when I saw a light in the sky, approaching from 
the direction of Aislaby. This was at a quarter to 
eight o'clock. I watched the light, and saw that it 
was an airship ; and I could hear the working of the 
engines. It seemed as if it was going over towards 
Eskdaleside, and was travelling at a great speed ; 
but it turned round, and descended some little 
distance towards the earth. The machine was 
showing a red light at the front, a smaller one in the 
middle, and what seemed to be a greenish light at 
the stern. I continued to watch, and saw that the 
machine came to a standstill, when the middle light, 
which seemed to be a searchlight, was shown. It 
then lifted a little, shut off its lights, and began 



m 



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no THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 

hovering round and round. I went towards Ruswarp, 
and up Ruswarp Lane, and I could see the machine 
in the air all the time. At about twenty minutes 
past eight o'clock the airship proceeded in the direc- 
tion of Pickering, or York, travelling at sixty or 
seventy miles an hour, I should think, and being out 
of sight in five minutes. There were several other 
people who saw it, and some of them seemed to be a 
bit frightened. The airship appeared to be about 
a mile above the land, and when the searchlight was 
put on the land could be plainly seen below. The 
night was dark, but starlight, and the machine could 
be plainly seen. When it slackened speed, and 
manoeuvred about, it seemed to be over Briggswath. 
It came in sight from over The Woodlands when I 
first saw it. It was a cigar-shaped vessel, with a 
platform beneath. I could not distinguish any men 
or any further details." Mr. Prentice, in further 
conversation with the reporter, referred to the peculiar 
shape of the airship. At Doncaster, on the previous 
Friday, he had seen three British Army aeroplanes 
pass over the town on their way to York. "These 
were of the monoplane and Cody type, and quite 
different from the one which he saw on Tuesday." 
A few weeks afterwards I was fortunate enough to 
hear from a friend at Whitby an explanation of 
Mr. Prentice's vision which had afforded a good deal 
of innocent amusement in the little town. " It turns 



THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC in 

out to have been merely a farmer working at night in 
a field on the hilltop, taking manure about in a 
creaky wheelbarrow, with a light swung on the top 
of a broomstick attached to it." 

The same airship was seen by a young man 
employed in the post office at Bedale. A com- 
munication from him to the Whitby Gazette stated 
that on Tuesday night his attention was called by a 
fellow-clerk, who said there was an airship outside. 
He went out immediately, " and," he says, " there was 
no doubt that it was an airship." The postmaster 
and a dozen others saw the " bright star-like light " 
hovering at an ever-increasing height of probably 
5,000 or more feet above the earth. It made its 
course due north, as if making for the coast, but 
altered its course for a more westerly direction. It 
disappeared by about 8.20 p.m. The last witness 
was a Whitby sea captain who " about the same hour 
Was attracted by a very bright light in the west, a 
little to the northward of the planet Venus, but, 
when he had secured his telescope, it had become 
enshrouded in a haze." 

After exhibiting these convincing proofs and 
ocular demonstrations the local editor pointed out 
that " the purpose of these airships is obviously to 
survey strategical positions and obtain practical 
knowledge of the working of an airship at a great 
distance from its base, for they can work within a 




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112 THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 

radius of 1,550 miles. They do not belong to a 
country which is on terms of established friendship 
with us, like France ; otherwise they would come at 
day time, and have nothing to fear. They can do 
their work better at night time than by day, because 
they can concentrate their searchlight upon particular 
spots, and have more leisure for the purpose ; and 
their occupants can familiarise themselves with the 
topography of the country generally." 

To the sceptics who suggested that if German 
army airmen wanted to visit England they would 
come in the day time, this Wise Man of the East 
Coast replied with editorial scorn : — 

" One might as well expect them to bring their whole fleet 
of twenty-three Zeppelins some fine day, just to show how up 
to date they are. No, they send their single airships across 
to take lobservations just in the same way as they send their 
odd warships to survey our home waters in a nice, quiet way ; 
so that, if ever it should happen that they wanted to find 
their way about our tight little island, their individual 
representatives would be as well equipped for the purpose 
as they were in the Franco-German war, when every 
German soldier carried a map of France in his pocket» 
and was able to show their enemies the way. In plain 
truth, the Kentish man and the Cornishman would be 
more at sea on the Yorkshire wolds than would Hans with a 
German guide-map in his knapsack." 

** We have no patience," added the Whitby Gazette, 
** with the newspapers which are pooh-poohing these 
* hallucinations/ as they call them ; and such conduct 



THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 113 

is not creditable to them. ... As we have before 
stated, Britain is at Germany's mercy now, and it 
is only the fear of the violation of all international 
etiquette which keeps her from taking advantage of 
her superiority.'* 

The phantom airships were not seen only in 
Yorkshire. On its arrival at Kirkwall from the 
north isles of Orkney on Thursday, February 27th, 
the steamer Orcadia brought reports of an airship 
having been sighted in broad daylight off the Island 
of Sanday on the previous Monday. But — to quote 
the Dundee Advertiser — " it was a considerable 
distance off, and some of those who observed it 
thought it was a flock of birds proceeding rapidly 
southwards." An expert commenting on the news 
declared that the airships must have been geese, 
"which fly at a great height and adopt regular 
formations." He added that " geese breed within 
the Arctic circle, and if the season is encouraging 
they push northwards very early so as to get a good 
start with the great business of life." But if the 
geese were coming back in large flocks it would 
mean severe weather in the North, and severe 
weather in the Arctic circles in February tends to 
spread southwards and spoil the spring. But these 
poor shivering geese were duly converted into air- 
ships manned by Germans who had crossed the 
North Sea in order to spy out the promised land. 



I I 



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114 THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 

By the end of February the authors of the hoax 
began to feel nervous. Apparently mischievous 
persons were reporting apparitions too rapidly for 
the public digestion. " From all over the country," 
wrote the Datfy Mail on February 27th, " reports are 
reaching London nightly of mysterious lights seen in 
the sky, and the observers are firmly convinced that 
they belong to airships. These reports have come 
largely from Yorkshire and also from the south coast 
(including Portsmouth), and last night they began to 
arrive from Liverpool. The very multiplicity of these 
reports discredits them" The italics are my own. 
When Liverpool went into the manufacturing busi- 
ness the chief consumer seems to have refused to 
give any further orders. Nevertheless a long list was 
offered of lights seen in the sky at various places, and 
on the same day the Admiralty supplied a Daily 
Mail representative with a story sent in by the 
Hornsea coastguard who had been watching the 
movements of a "dirigible carrying lights." 

But right on to March 8th visions of airships still 
haunted the imaginations of nervous persons, although 
the hoax had been exposed over and over again. On 
that evening, wrote a correspondent of the South Wales 
Daily News^ " there was again a good deal of excite- 
ment in some parts of South Wales regarding a 
strange light near the horizon in the western heavens 
which was believed to be an airship. 



THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 115 

" Shortly after 9 o'clock, while cultivating my fire- 
side, I received a hurried call from a neighbour to 
come and see a remarkable light that was supposed 
to be the airship. It was 9.15 when, in company 
with half a dozen neighbours, I got a sight of the 
object. My first impression was of what appeared 
like a small luminous cloud some 10 or 15 degrees 
above the horizon. It appeared to be moving 
slowly. Then suddenly from one end a ray of light 
shot forth, and a moment later it completely altered 
in shape, and the nebulous appearance gave place to 
a concentration of the light, which became dazzlingly 
bright. * Look,' said my neighbour, * now you see it 
has changed its course. It's turned half round, and 
now you see the light " head on." ' For some 
minutes we watched it and it appeared to sway 
gently, and the rays shot out first on one side and 
then on another. It subsequently again assumed an 
oblong nebulous shape, and later again became clear 
and brilliant. It certainly was most puzzling. 

" Returning home a few minutes later, I examined 
the alleged airship through a pair of powerful field- 
glasses, and still dissatisfied with my conclusions I 
watched it through a large telescope with a 2j-inch 
object-glass, an instrument powerful enough to enable 
me to detect Jupiter's moons and Saturn's ring. A 
few minutes' observation sufficed to convince me 
that the airship was none other than our old friend 



•f* 



....-Mu .|ll^ji| <MiMp«»' tfr'W '''' 



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II 



ii6 THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 

the planet Venus. At that time it was getting near 
the horizon, and in the vicinity were a number of 
small clouds. It was the presence of one of these 
covering the planet that no doubt accounted for the 
strange nebulous appearance at times, and also for 
the fact that the rays were visible sometimes on one 
side and sometimes on the other." 

But although the craze for seeing airships spread 
with the newspapers, the east coast of Yorkshire 
which had been the place first chosen remained 
during the few days of scare the main centre of disturb- 
ance. It seems that, to soften this usually hard- 
headed county, some fire balloons were sent up. 
It was the discovery of one of these on a moor that 
gave the panic its coup degrAce and made any further 
reporting of German airships futile. Elsewhere the 
only physical accompaniments and aids to the imagi- 
nation were the stars and planets. 

Meanwhile the German Government, anxious lest 
this new bogey could impede the resumption of 
cordial relations with our Foreign Office, issued an 
official record of its airships' movements in order to 
reassure the British public. On Saturday, March ist, 
after it had been conclusively proved that not one 
of the five or six German surviving Zeppelins had 
even attempted this hazardous passage across the 
North Sea, a Berlin correspondent wrote to one of 
our newspapers : — ^ 

» The Sunday Times. 



THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 117 

Ail the week the German Press has been laughing at John 
Bull's panicky nerves. The story of the phantom airship, the 
" flying German," as they call it here, flashing red and green 
lights over the inviolate coasts of Britain, is naturally a source 
of unmixed joy to the German editor. The official world 
takes the matter more seriously, and protests against the sug- 
gestion that German airships are sent out on nightly spying 
trips to England as calumnious. Some surprise is expressed 
that the British Government has not taken steps to allay the 
alarm in the country. The view to which Germans in general 
are gradually coming round is that the English f omenters of 
the fable are not insane, appearances to the contrary notwith- 
standing, but that the whole scare is a cleverly rigged 
manoeuvre to force the Government to come forward with a 
big air-fleet bill. Wonderful as are the feats of the latest 
Zeppelins, they have their limitations. They are delicate as 
egg-shell china, cost ;£5o,ooo apiece to build, and have a 
weight-lifting capacity far below what many English people 
seem to believe. Germany has not got twenty airships that 
can fly to England and back. She has six (all Zeppelins) 
which might, if necessary, attempt such a flight. Any of 
these might reasonably expect to reach our coast, but the 
German experts all agree that it would be doubtful if it could 
get back. The return voyage with the benzine running low, 
and the capacity of the ship and crew approaching exhaustion, 
would probably end in disaster if the wind were contrary. 
The idea that these ships can drop from two to five tons of 
explosives on our heads at any time is absurd. None of theni 
could carry such weights, and on a thousand mile trip so much 
lifting power would be wanted for benzine that there would 
be practically none left for bombs. So precious is benzine to 
the air-shipper that he grudges himself light— which he can 
only generate by depleting his benzine store— so that if any 
reader is startled by the sight of red and green lights overhead 
some dark night, he may be sure that they are not carried by 
German airships. 



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ii8 THE SIXTH OR AIRSHIP PANIC 

On March i8th the finest of the remaining 
Zeppelins, which had cost ;f 100,000, was completely 
wrecked by a gust of wind at Carlsruhe, and shortly 
afterwards another one was forced to come to ground 
at Nancy, where she was examined by French 

experts. 

The Zeppelins may be the best airships in exist- 
ence, but their value for offensive purposes is prac- 
tically nily and their value as observation vessels is 
much disputed even by German experts, who point 
out that the great disadvantage of the rigid system is 
the complete dependence of the ship upon its shed, to 
which it must return at the end of every trip. A 
forced landing, on anything except the most suitable 
ground, means certain disaster owing to the rigidity 
and delicacy of the aluminium frame. Yet, at a very 
dull and listless Mansion House meeting in May, 
which was convened by the Daily Mail and the Navy 
League in order to stimulate public expenditure on 
airships, an Admiral of the Fleet declared that Great 
Britain, in consequence of these inventions, had ceased 
to be an island ! 

With this meeting, at which Mr. Balfour, Lord 
Rosebery, and other stars who had been announced, 
were conspicuous by their absence, my account of the 
Six Panics may fitly conclude. 



PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE IN 
NAVAL WARFARE 

IN May 191 2, over a well-known signature, there 
appeared in one of our London newspapers a 
prescription for putting "new heart in the Royal 
Navy." The casual reader might have expected 
to find something enlivening or uplifting— more 
music perhaps and songs, or more chaplains and 
prayers. But what the writer proposed was more 
prize money. The hope of gain according to this 
new pattern of chivalry is the main cause of gallantry 
at sea; and so he would like our Government to 
announce that the enemy's ships and commerce will 
form a fund for the benefit of our seamen in the 
next war. " The sea-borne commerce of any mari- 
time Power likely to attack us is a potential prize 
fund in war time, which might raise to affluence 
many of the best and bravest of the British nation 
who follow the sea as a profession." A definition 
of courage and gallantry, so framed as to glorify the 

armed brigand or pirate who, at no risk to himself 

119 



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I20 PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE 

and for the purpose of filling his own purse, plunders 
an unarmed trader, is surely a little bit out of place 
at the beginning of the twentieth century. We 
should indeed be in a bad way if the courage that 
defends the country were venal, and if our prospects 
of success in a sea fight depended upon plunder. I 
seem to remember reading a complaint of Nelson 
about certain captains who preferred privateering to 
fighting. The military value of the right to plunder 
was criticised and denied by General Napier, the 
brave and brilliant historian of the war in the 
Spanish Peninsula. " It is a common, but shallow 
and mischievous notion," he wrote, "that a villain 
makes never the worse soldier for an assault, because 
the appetite for plunder supplies the place of honour, 
as if the compatibility of vice and bravery rendered 
the union of virtue and courage unnecessary in war- 
like matters. In all the host which stormed San 
Sebastian there was not a man who, being sane, 
would for plunder only have encountered the danger 
of that assault, yet under the spell of discipline 
all rushed eagerly to meet it." Discipline, he adds, 
has its root in patriotism, and upon this noble stock 
moderation and respect for property should be grafted 
by military law. What Napier advised has now been 
carried out in all civilised armies, and it is recognised 
that military success, no less than public policy, 
requires the suppression of those natural cravings 



PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE 121 

for lust and plunder, inherent in the common soldier, 
which bad commanders under a looser code used 
to gratify or condone. 

However, our naval expert's remedy for the 
imaginary disease of declining courage (which he 
imputes by implication to our bluejackets) will serve 
a purpose; for this frank avowal lays bare the 
sinister motives underiying our whole system of prize 
money. It is the relic of a bygone age. Nor is prize 
money granted by the naval law of Germany or of 
the United States. In fact the practices of sea 
warfare are in the last stage of transition from 
the age of piracy, when every man's hand was 
against his fellow, to modern usages, under which 
armed forces are forbidden to plunder private 
property : — 

Non cauponantes bellum sed belligerantes. 

Reformers may find comfort in a retrospect. 
Bad as are the present laws and customs of the sea, 
they were far worse in the sixteenth, the seventeenth, 
and the eighteenth centuries. I will take an illus- 
tration from the records of the Star Chamber. In 
the month of July, 1526, a pirate from Boulogne, 
under "Frenchmen, pirates, and sea thieves," captured 
a German ship called the Jesus, of Danzig, as she lay 
at anchor in the Humber. The cargo, a general one, 
belonged to Norwich merchants, by whom the Jesus 



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122 PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE 

had been chartered. It comprised twenty lasts of 
rye, thirty lasts and nine barrels of meal, three half- 
packs of flax, six hundred oars, six lasts of pitch, 
four lasts of tar, one last of osmonds (iron blooms), 
two rolls of wax, and half a last of bow-staves. 
The bow-staves would have been contraband of war 
and the first two items might have been on any list 
of contraband in a modern war. But piracy was 
then one of the regular risks in overseas commerce, 
and indeed it was regarded like the slave trade 
as a legitimate enterprise by most shipowners. 
Here then is a really startling difference between 
past and present. Human nature may not be 
intrinsically better. Such barbarities as those 
revealed in the Congo and in the Putumayo have 
never been surpassed. Things have been done at 
the sight of which Alva or Judge Jeffreys might 
have recoiled in horror. There is plenty of cruelty 
but less opportunity. There are plenty of thieves 
and would-be pirates. But there is no piracy in 
time of peace, because there is no means of selling 
prizes, thanks to the marvellous mechanical inven- 
tions which have almost abolished space and time. 
Those French pirates were not troubled by telegraph 
or railway lines. They took their German ship and 
their Norwich goods a few miles up the coast to 
the flourishing port of Whitby, which, with its well- 
to-do merchants and rich monastery, offered a good 



PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE 123 

market ; and they actually sold the whole of their 
prize, both ship and cargo, at Whitby. It was a 
popular sale, well patronised by laity and Church, 
for the Abbot of Whitby joined with five local men 
in buying part of the foodstuffs. Afterwards, indeed, 
they got into trouble before the Star Chamber, for 
they were sued by the German owner of the Jesus 
and the Norwich owners of the cargo. History does 
not tell the result ; perhaps the buyers of the stolen 
goods bought off the Court also. 

Pessimists who despair of Government may find 
comfort in this glimpse of the past— when a French 
pirate could seize a German merchantman, full of 
Norwich goods in the H umber and sell both ship 
and cargo in the Whitby market. There is little 
fear of a return to this unblushing piracy. In time 
of peace the sober aud skilful mariner has little to 
fear but the weather. But in time of war there is 
still scope for privateering in substance, though not 
in name. In spite of the Declaration of Paris, which 
formally abolished privateering and formally pro- 
tected neutral trade with belligerents, a shipowner 
has no protection against an enemy, and even those 
who fly a neutral flag are liable to almost unlimited 
molestation and loss, thanks to the right of search 
and the law of contraband. How perilous are present 
practices to merchant shipping and commerce may 
be judged from the Declaration of London, which is 







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124 PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE 

a compromise between what Continental and British 
Admiralties want to be allowed to do. It reduces 
everything to black and white, and makes the laws of 
naval warfare in some respects a little better, in other 
respects a little worse, than they appear in the average 
text-book. It was drafted with sublime indifference 
to the interests of shipowners and merchants by 
diplomats and bureaucrats who knew nothing of 
trade, and cared less. It has been thrown out by 
the House of Lords, and condemned by many 
chambers of commerce. It is dead, I suppose; 
but it may be useful as a jumping-off ground for 
real reforms, which will come when commercial men 
have the wit to see their own interests and the spirit 
to enforce them. 

The history of warfare, by land and sea, is the 
history of a gradual restriction of fighting and de- 
struction to the armed forces on either side. The 
indiscriminate murder, brutality and theft of bar- 
barous warfare, have gradually been supplanted by 
a series of rules, regulations and customs. Civilised 
armies are now bound to respect white flags and 
ambulances. Peaceful inhabitants and non-comba- 
tants are protected from lust and spoliation. At 
sea piracy is prohibited ; and even privateering is 
supposed to have been abolished by the Declara- 
tion of Paris. But for some reason or other Great 
Britain has obstinately opposed the liberation of 



PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE 125 

oversea commerce from depredations in time of war, 
and the present complicated system, not to say 
chaos, of laws regulating naval warfare—- a system 
admitted by all to be highly unsatisfactory—is 
mainly due to the attitude of our Government. 

The law in its main outlines was described by 
Earl Loreburn in 1905 a month or two before he 
took up the seals of office as Lord Chancellor : " At 
present international law allows a belligerent, as is 
well known, to capture and confiscate all the 
merchant ships of the enemy nation and any 
enemy goods they may contain. Innocent neutral 
goods in an enemy ship must be released, but are 
of necessity liable to damage and depreciation in 
value ; for it takes time to convey the prize to port 
and obtain adjudication, and the neutral goods will 
have then to be transhipped or sold in the belligerent 
port for what they will fetch. In case of perishable 
goods the loss may be enormous. Enemy goods in 
a neutral ship, unless contraband, are covered by the 
neutral flag, so far as those nations are concerned 
which have adhered to the Declaration of Paris 
(1856)." In a series of cogent letters to the pro- 
vincial press, written since he quitted office, the 
eminent lawyer and statesman has shown in sufficient 
detail the mischiefs of the existing law and the 
remedies that should be applied." ^ 

' The letters have been reprinted by Messrs. Methuen under 
the title "Capture at Sea." 



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126 PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE 

The net result of this system of naval warfare is 
clear. It is lawful for sea soldiers to plunder peace- 
ful traders and to seize merchant ships belonging to 
a private citizen of the enemy, or of a company 
registered in the enemy's territory. They may 
plunder a floating shop or a floating warehouse, 
though they may no longer plunder or destroy a 
shop or warehouse on the coast. Thus, if the 
Governments of Great Britain ^nd Germany 
managed to wrangle themselves into the most 
stupid of all imaginable wars — for each nation is 
a great customer of the other, and they have 
nothing at all to fight about — our cruisers would 
have to try to capture the Imperator and theirs 
to capture the Olympic. The Olympic is partly 
owned and controlled by American capital, but 
she and the other ships of the White Star Line 
would be fair and lawful prizes to be divided up 
among the enterprising crew of any small third- 
class cruiser that could catch her. If the prize 
policy is to be upheld, encouraged and developed 
every sailor in time of war will want to be on a 
piratical cruiser, that is to say, on a swift ship which 
has been allowed the privilege of hunting for prizes 
instead of fighting the armed forces of the enemy. 

The favourite plea for naval expansion both at 
home and abroad is the necessity of protecting 
merchantmen from capture or destruction. In the 



PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE 127 

debate on the Navy Estimates for 191 3 Mr. Winston 
Churchill practically threw up the sponge so far as 
the protection of our merchant fleet is concerned. 
He explained that, as we cannot possibly build 
enough cruisers to protect a mercantile marine which 
traverses every navigable sea, the Admiralty is en- 
couraging shipowners to mount guns on their vessels 
so that in time of war they can take a hand in the 
game. A pretty comment this on the policy of 
capture and the abolition of privateering! The 
Admiralty maintains the right of its captains to 
plunder the private merchantmen of a foreign 
enemy, while it admits not only the liability of 
British merchantmen to be plundered by foreign 
captains but also its own inability to protect them. 

How obsolete and absurd is this law, to which our 
naval pundits cling so obstinately, must be patent 
to any one acquainted with the elementary facts of 
modern commerce. Not only are ships insured 
against all the risks and hazards of peace and war, 
but the system of marine insurance is concentrated 
in this country, and is so complicated by reinsurance 
that whatever captures and destruction of floating 
property occur in war are almost bound to injure 
British interests. Even in the wars of the eighteenth 
century London insurers often had to pay for the 
successes of British as well as of foreign privateers. 

Another great change that has occurred in the 



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128 PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE 

last fifty years is this. Owing to the joint-stock 
principle, most of the valuable ships are owned by 
companies, whose shares may be, and often are, 
very widely distributed. Hence a naval robber 
never knows whose property he is looting ! And 
no one suggests that in case of war with 
Germany our Government should confiscate shares 
and securities held by Germans in British shipping 
or other companies, or even that interest on British 
securities should be withheld from the subjects of 
a Power with which we are at war. If we went to 
war with France we should not confiscate English 
property and English shares held by French sub- 
jects, nor would the French Government disturb 
wealthy Englishmen in the possession of their 
pleasant villas in France. If neither morality nor 
common sense can distinguish between a yacht and 
a villa, between a ship and a shop, why should in- 
ternational law regard one as lawful plunder and 
the other as sacred property ? 

Apparently the only argument of our Admiralty 
and Foreign Office for maintaining the practice of 
cruising for prizes— they defeated reform at the last 
Hague Conference— is that so long as we can afford 
to keep a larger Navy than other Powers, this 
threat of ours to plunder or destroy their peaceful 
sea-going commerce in time of war is of value as 
a preventive, and also as an actual weapon of offence 



PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE 129 

in case war broke out. The reply is that the threat 
is not very terrible ; and the weapon is either blunt 
or two-edged. The injury we could do in this way 
to any possible enemy would be trifling in compari- 
son with the cost of the war. We might compel 
our adversaries either to lay up their ships during 
the war, or to sell them to neutrals. In either case 
the loss would be but a tiny fraction of the whole 
loss caused by a great war. What could an enemy 
hope to do to us? Obviously the possibilities of 
damage would be in proportion to the magnitude 
of our shipping ; and it happens that half the world's 
mercantile marine sails under the British flag. 

A fleet of small swift cruisers could be built by 
any Power at the cost of a single " Dreadnought," 
and such a fleet might play havoc with our merchant- 
men before it could be hunted down and captured. 
What destruction could be wrought in this way, 
or by converted liners, the example of the Alabama 
sufficiently proves. There has been a great fuss 
lately about the danger to Great Britain of allowing 
a nation which is at war to convert swift merchant- 
men into cruisers. As armour-plate is but a poor 
protection against modern guns or torpedoes, these 
converted cruisers would be almost as effective 
as cruisers specially built for preying upon com- 
merce. It is impossible for the law to make a 
distinction between one kind of cruiser and another. 



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130 PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE 

In short, the abolition of privateering by the Declara- 
tion of Paris may turn out to be illusory. 

Another very strong reason for a reform of the 
law is this. The policy of "capture" is the chief 
popular argument which reconciles other nations to 
naval expansion, and it is clearly responsible for 
whole squadrons of costly cruisers, built to capture 
merchantmen or to protect them from capture. A 
great part of our naval expenditure, one must 
remember, is not on " capital " ships — so called, I 
suppose, because they destroy so much capital — but 
on cruisers, of which we have upwards of 130 in 
commission. A very large part of our huge expendi- 
ture and of our heavy taxation is due to this suicidal 
policy of commerce destruction. And let our 
wealthier citizens take warning that if they allow 
British Governments to pursue unchecked a policy 
of continual expansion in armaments, they must ex- 
pect ere long to pay, as they already pay in Japan, 
an income-tax graduated up to four or five shillings 
in the pound. 

An international treaty exempting all peaceful 
shipping and merchandise from capture or destruction 
in naval warfare would certainly mitigate the com- 
petition in Naval armaments. If one nation threatens 
to destroy the commerce of its rivals, its rivals are 
certain to make great sacrifices to protect their 
own shipping, and to retaliate in case of need. 



PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE 131 

"If I were a German," said Mr. F. E. Smith, 
in the House of Commons on April 21, 1909, "I 
would never be content, so long as the right to 
destroy private commerce exists, until my nation 
had a Navy which would make it impossible for 
that power of destruction to be exercised. If we 
could go to Germany and say we had abandoned 
this practice which jeopardises the commerce that 
she, as a strong nation, is entitled to protect, and 
if in spite of the removal of that risk she still 
continued to build * Dreadnoughts,' the position of 
this country would be a very different one. If we 
had withdrawn from the right to destroy the com- 
merce of our rivals, and in face of that Germany 
continued to expand her Navy (which, on that 
hypothesis, could only be for purposes of aggression), 
I should not shrink from any sacrifice. Until we 
have made that offer and given that guarantee of 
our good faith, we are not entitled even to feel 
surprised that Germany should feel as justified in 
protecting her Mercantile Marine as we in protecting 
ours." 

At the last Hague Conference the German dele- 
gates supported the abolition of capture, and the 
British delegates opposed it. On the other hand, 
the British delegates favoured the prohibition of 
floating mines, and the German delegates opposed 
it. Why should not each Government withdraw 






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132 PRIZE MONEY AND CAPTURE 

its opposition, and conclude a convention with the 
United States, introducing these two improvements 
into the naval warfare of the future? I, for my 
part, do not at all despair of seeing such a change 
of policy ; for it is demanded by the spirit of modern 
commerce, as it is furthered by the growing strength 
and complexity of international trade. Brougham, 
an old Radical, Sir Henry Maine, an old Tory, and 
Cobden were strong supporters of this reform, which 
has been accepted and endorsed over and over again 
by important Chambers of Commerce. The late 
Marquis of Salisbury and Lord Avebury were of the 
same opinion ; Earl Loreburn, Lord Morley, Mr. 
R E. Smith and Sir John Simon (the Solicitor- 
General) are with us, and Professor Brentano, one 
of the ablest advocates in Germany of a friendly 
understanding with England, regards this inter- 
national guarantee of private property at sea not 
only as a good thing in itself, but also as a most 
excellent way to quell the suspicions of his own 
countrymen, great numbers of whom have un- 
doubtedly entertained the feeling attributed to them 
by Mr. F. E. Smith, and have therefore acquiesced 
reluctantly in the financial sacrifices demanded of 
them by the German Admiralty. 



THE BALKAN WAR^ 

ERASMUS once wrote a little book called the 
" Plaint of Peace," which depicted in lively 
colours the distracted condition of Europe in the 
1 6th century. And Peace to-day is still com- 
plaining. She needs all the aid that Commerce, 
Humanity, and Religion can afford. At this 
moment the armies of Austria and Russia are still 
mobilised in readiness for a giant struggle. French 
newspapers are full of the Revanche. The German 
Emperor has proposed a levy of fifty millions 
sterling on German fortunes. We in sea-girt Britain, 
fenced off by Neptune from the march of conscript 
armies, have a special mission to Europe— a mission 
not (as some conceive) to dispatch an expeditionary 
force to fight in other men's quarrels, but a mission to 
stop the carnage in the Balkans, to compose the 
differences of our neighbours, and bringj about, if we 
can, a general and proportionate reduction in the 
oppressive burden of armaments. 

« Written in February, 1913. 

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THE BALKAN WAR 



THE BALKAN WAR 



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War needs to be studied like crime or disease not 
merely in the abstract but in its actual environment 
whenever and wherever it occurs. The ancient 
Greeks used to contrast war, as a malady, with peace 
as a state of health. In peace, they said, the sick 
recover ; in war the healthy fall sick, are wounded, 
or die. In peace the old are buried by the young; in 
war the young are buried by the old, 

A war has been raging since autumn in the 
Balkans. It is lauded by our military experts as a 
singularly triumphant and successful war, and the 
victors are held up to us for envy, admiration, and 
imitation. " The Bulgarians had conscription, and so 
beat the Turks. Therefore we should adopt compul- 
sory service in these islands." Of course the 
Turks also had conscription, and if they had won 
exactly the same lessons would have been drawn. 
But let that pass. I want to offer one small con- 
tribution to the study of war by writing down what 
the victors themselves say about the economic and 
social effects of their still unfinished triumph. 

There came recently from Sofia to the office of 
The Economist (which naturally receives financial and 
official information of this sort) a printed document 
in French. It was issued by the Commissioners of 
the National Debt of Bulgaria, and is, in fact, an 
official statement, or expose, on behalf of the Bulgarian 
Government. The full title is, " Expos^ sur la 



question d'indemnit6 de guerre qui doit 6tre 
impos^e k la Turquie." It recites some of the 
consequences of the campaign, in order to induce 
Europe to recognise the claim of the allies for an 
indemnity from Turkey. Thus we learn about the 
sufferings of Macedonia and Bulgaria, not on the 
showing of a Turk or of a foreigner, but on the admis- 
sion of the Bulgarian Government. These sufferings 
and losses, of course, are part of the case for an 
indemnity, but they also constitute a case which 
shall go to the jury of civilised opinion against this 
particular war and against war in general. They are 
made, observe, while Bulgaria is still at war, when on 
politic grounds its Government must be very reluctant 
to state anything like the full extent of its losses. 

First of all, then, this document draws our attention 
to the state of Thrace and Macedonia, of which 
Bulgaria expects to get the lion's share. It is a 
country to which nature has not been unkind, and 
some of it is extraordinarily rich, as for instance the 
neighbourhood of Drama, which grows some of the 
choicest tobacco in the world. But practically all 
this territory has been ravaged and desolated. The 
official statement declares (with perfect truth) that it 
is in no condition to pay the interest on that part 
of the Turkish debt with which it is to be saddled. 
On the contrary, a heavy expenditure, we are assured, 
will be necessary in order to restore what has been 



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THE BALKAN WAR 



THE BALKAN WAR 



137 



destroyed— to say nothing of improvements and 
developments. For a long time the new acquisitions 
will be a source not of income but of expenditure, a 
drain on the public purse of Bulgaria. Instead of 
defraying the cost of war, they will increase it. The 
present inhabitants of Bulgaria would be positively 
better off if they were suddenly disappointed of the 
prize for which they have made these enormous 
acrifices of blood and treasure. 

And everything that one hears confirms this view 
of the case. The conquered territory has been twice 
burnt, twice sacked and pillaged : first by the retreat- 
ing Turks, then by the Bulgarian bands of irregulars. 
Most of the Turkish farmers (probably nearly all) are 
fled or dead. Sir Edwin Pears of Constantinople 
tells me that at least a hundred thousand Mohamme- 
dan non-combatants— old or invalided men, women 
and children— have passed over from Turkey in 
Europe to Turkey in Asia with their farm imple- 
ments, carts, horses, and removable belongings. I 
suppose that nearly all the farms in Thrace have 
been stripped bare. All movables have been taken 
away— furniture and implements, horses, oxen, 
sheep, goats, and pigs. I saw Macedonia under the 
Old Turks. It was not a happy country. Nay, it 
was as miserable as a country not actually at war 
could be. It must now be the very abomination of 
desolation. 



That is the state of the new territory. Bulgaria 
will look larger on the map, but it is a map which 
has been painted red with human blood. It is a 
desolate and solitary place, an estate mortgaged up 
to the hilt, on which the rates will be at least 
thirty shillings in the pound. 

So much for the first argument urged by Bulgarian 
statesmen. They want Turkey to pay them an 
indemnity in order that they may not be ruined by 
the cost of reclaiming this wilderness — this territory 
wasted by fire and sword, by Creusot and Krupp, by 
Cross and Crescent, strewn with burnt farms and 
the mouldering carcases of men and horses and 
cattle. 

IVkat is the second argument ? 

Bulgaria, as a result- of the war, say these official 
exponents of her financial and economic predicament 
has lost 25,000 men in the prime of life ; and 25,000 
more have been invalided or maimed for the rest of 
their days — 50,000 in all, a very moderate estimate I 
am afraid.^ Now apart altogether from the economic 
value of these men — merchants, manufacturers, shop- 
keepers, farmers, mechanics, labourers, etc. — the Bul- 
garian Government estimates that the taxpayers 
who remain will have to find more than ;^400,ooo a 
year for a generation to come in pensions to the 
families of the 25,000 dead and to the other 25,000 

* This was before the storm of Adrianople. 






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THE BALKAN WAR 



139 



men who are maimed and rendered incapable of 
earning a livelihood. 

And here let me remind you what these lost 
workers and future charges mean to Bulgaria. It 
is not a country like ours which can think in millions. 
Its population at the last census was only 4,337,cxx). 
The loss of 50,000 workers and taxpayers to Bulgaria 
is as the loss of 500,000 men of all ranks and classes 
would be to our own dear country — husbands, lovers, 
sons, fathers, brothers. What infinite pathos ! The 
whole available army of Bulgaria under a most severe 
system of conscription cannot be more than 400,000 
men. So that above twelve per cent (one in eight) 
of Bulgaria's conscript force has been destroyed on 
the showing of an official document. Then again 
the whole Bulgarian revenue in 191 1 was only 
£6joofiOO, so that a charge of over ;f400,ooo in 
pensions means nearly one-sixteenth of her whole 
revenue — equivalent to some jf 12,000,000 sterling for 
the United Kingdom. And taxes in Bulgaria are 
already very high. The Bulgarians have adopted 
Tariff Reform as well as conscription, and so the 
necessaries of life are far more expensive than in 
England. 

So much for the second plea. 

What is the Third ? 

The Bulgarian Government declares — and the 
powerful ambassadors of Krupp and Creusot are 



not likely to disagree— that, immediately after the 
war, Bulgaria will have to rearm its troops with new 
rifles, buy fresh guns, accoutrements, etc., because 
most of the weapons used in this war are already 
worn out ; and it will be necessary to return at once 
to the old level of efficiency. 

So the third argument— the third plea— for an 
indemnity is that the war has worn out Bulgaria's 
armaments, and that therefore new armaments must 
be bought; and as Bulgaria cannot afford to buy 
them Turkey must pay for them by contributing an 
indemnity. This really means that English and 
French creditors must lend more money to Turkey 
in order to enable Bulgaria to put herself into imme- 
diate condition for another war, possibly against 
her allies. Yet wars are often recommended as 
an escape from the intolerable burden of rival 
armaments ! 

That is the third argument. 

What is the Fourth ? 

The fourth argument, or plea, for an idemnity is 
the appalling misery of the country. Since the 
beginning of war business and credit have been 
suspended ; no one has been legally bound to pay 
his debts. Let me translate what the Bulgarian 
Government has to say on this head : " The national 
economy will undergo for two years the evil conse- 
quences of the war. Our industry and trade have 



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THE BALKAN WAR 



THE BALKAN WAR 



141 



suffered a cruel and painful stagnation for over four 
months, and there will inevitably follow ^ a mass of 
failures among business men, manufactures, and 
artisans. Nor can the losses of the farmers be neg- 
lected. The autumn sowings did not take place 
in time, and there is a risk that the spring sowings 
will be spoiled if the troops are retained with the 
colours much longer. The whole country would 
then be threatened by famine. And beyond all this, 
the loss to the livestock of the country is enormous, 
since over 2C»,000 horses, oxen, and buffaloes em- 
ployed in the army transport service are dead or 
useless." This is the fourth, the last and the strongest 
plea that could possibly be entered by Bulgaria, I do 
not say for an indemnity from bankrupt Turkey, but 
for charity from those who can afford it. We can all 
admire the efficiency, toughness and courage of a 
race, so long and so cruelly oppressed by the Turkish 
conqueror. We can all pity the sufferings and sor- 
rows of the sick, the wounded, and the bereaved. 
We can all, I hope, learn from this awful lesson the 
horror and folly of war and the terrible consequences, 
the ruinous results, of attempting to remedy great 
evils and great grievances by the greatest of all evils. 
If it proves anything, the present case of Bulgaria 

* I.e,, when the moratorium declared at the beginning of 
the war, which made debts irrecoverable, comes to an 
end. 



proves that force is no remedy — that economic and 
social ruin is the price even of a victorious war of 
liberation. 

Other pens may paint the still more pitiful plight 
of the Turks and the Montenegrins, or the financial 
embarrassments of Servia and Greece. A word is 
due to the diplomats of our most civilised and 
Christian Powers. This conflict would have been 
avoided if the Concert of Europe had done its duty 
any time in the last thirty years. The duty was 
clear ; the claim was urgent. We had only to unite 
in compelling the Turks to carry out a fair scheme of 
Macedonian reforms. But the Great Powers and 
their Foreign Offices were taken up with bicker- 
ings and jealousies, with ententes and alliances, with 
colonial wars and rival armaments. The voice of 
justice and humanity was addressed to deaf ears. 

What are the consequences ? For months Russia 
and Austria-Hungary have been mobilised at enor- 
mous cost. Their trade has been prostrated. An 
immense crop of bankruptcies is recorded, and great 
sums will have to be borrowed to pay for calling out 
these hundreds of thousands of conscripts from their 
homes. And now the trouble has spread to France 
and Germany. In both countries it is proposed to 
spend many millions upon defensive armaments. 
How long is this madness to last and where is it 
to end ? 



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ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS AND THEIR 

AUTHORITY 

A GERMAN Professor once said to me that he 
attributed international troubles mainly to 
newspapers : — "If only we could have a perfect press 
we might look for a perfect world." But perhaps 
nations have the press as well as the Governments 
they deserve. Anyhow, the imperfections of the 
world will always be represented in its newspapers, 
if not over-represented ; partly because a morbid and 
mendacious sensationalism is supposed to attract 
readers, partly because when any great mischief is 
on foot the first step usually taken is " to square the 
press." In some countries this operation presents no 
difficulties. In England much capital and dexterity 
are required to secure a fair approach to unanimity, 
even for Stock Exchange purposes. Newspapers, it 
must be remembered, are either rich and flourishing, 
or poor and struggling. The proprietors of the rich 
ones too often regard their property as a purely com- 
mercial venture, and allow more latitude to the 

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ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS 



143 



advertising manager than is compatible with the 
purity of their news columns. The unsuccessful 
newpapers, which are on the margin of cultivation or 
are worked at a loss, cannot afford to be particular 
unless their owners have large purses and tender 
consciences. Some shining examples and many 
sound arguments might be offered to prove that 
honesty pays, even in a commercial sense, when 
applied to capably conducted newspapers. But that 
would open up too large a field. I am content to 
affirm from experience that advertisers distinguish 
between newspapers in which they can only buy 
space and those in which they can also buy opinions 
in the shape of editorials and business notes and 
preliminary puffs. 

A newspaper is, or should be, a record of events 
and a mirror of opinions. To secure the utmost 
possible accuracy and to present your facts in a brief 
yet attractive form is almost incredibly difficult. In 
fact, no one who has not served on a great daily 
paper can quite understand how hard is the task of 
editor and sub-editor — what wide knowledge, what 
insight into character, what skill in selection and 
rejection go to the making of good news columns. 
No doubt any industrious and moderately well edu- 
cated person, who starts with a large stock of health 
and common sense, should make a good journalist, 
and in time he will develop a remarkable faculty of 



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distinguishing at sight, or by taste, news of a corrupt 
or romantic or merely futile description. But a good 
editor will also remember that his paper is a mirror 
of opinion. Not only will he give fair and accurate 
reports of important speeches by public men, but 
he will also offer free entry to his correspondence 
columns to all who have something to say and can 
say that something civilly, concisely, and grammati- 
cally. In this, and in many other respects, the 
provincial press is superior to the London press, 
as English and American newspapers are superior 
to those of the Continent, which indeed hardly ever 
print the opinions of their readers. Ministers are 
absurdly sensitive to London criticisms and to the 
gossip of the Clubs. They often misinterpret public 
opinion because they neglect to look for it in the 
provincial mirror. I will venture to say that a 
careful reader of the Manchester Guardian (Liberal), 
and the Yorkshire Post (Conservative), will be in 
a far better position to judge public opinion than 
if he were to devote his attention to any four 
London newspapers. 

Once it has turned the corner a paper can be 
maintained with a moderate amount of ability. To 
establish a new one is a difficult job, requiring a good 
deal of perseverance and capital and enterprise. 
Casualties are common in Fleet Street. Some 
years ago the Liberal Tribune failed, and the Con- 



ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS 



145 



servative St, James's Gazette was extinguished, or 
« absorbed," by the Evening Standard, These were 
penny papers. The last fatality to throw penmen 
and compositors out of work was the amalgamation 
in 191 2 of two competing halfpenny morning news- 
papers, the Morning Leader and the Daily News, 
Several other halfpenny papers published in London 
have disappeared, and altogether popular belief in 
the commercial success of the halfpenny press has 
received a shock. Like the weekly entertainment 
sheets, with or without prize competitions (such as 
Tit-Bits, Answers, or Pearson's Weekly), from which 
a new type of newspaper capitalist learned to make 
his fortune, the halfpenny Daily depends for its 
prosperity on advertisements, and for its advertise- 
ments on the extent, or supposed extent, of its 
circulation. The cheap and nasty Weekly appeals 
to the baser sort. It tries to give the vulgar 
something a little more vulgar than that to which 
they are accustomed in daily life. This is apparently 
the journalistic secret of amusing the common reader 
—to startle him with something a little lower than 
the ordinary joke. And papers which supply plenty 
of these jokes, coupled with little bits of statistical 
information, perhaps, or fragments of society gossip, 
will sell by the hundred thousand. Such a paper 
costs hardly anything to produce, and it may have a 
large advertisement revenue. Mr. Harmsworth, now 




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a peer, a most successful manufacturer of cheap 
publications, proved his skill in catering for the 
popular taste— as well as his real mastery of tech- 
nique—by the invention of the Daily Mail and the 
Daily Mirror, of which, it is said, the first was 
designed for those who cannot think, and the second 
for those who cannot read. His purchase of The 
Times may no doubt have been dictated by non- 
commercial considerations, and perhaps it was a 
mistake to attempt threepenny (or twopenny) jour- 
nalism. When Prince Von Bulow described The 
Times as an edition de luxe of the Daily Mail, he 
drew attention to a connection, which damaged 
the political influence of The Times abroad. It was 
a natural retort to the campaign against Germany, 
which The Times was then carrying on in concert 
with officialdom. 

The latest device for curing the evils of a press 
that does not pay is to amalgamate properties, so as 
to eliminate competition. From the public point of 
view this is unfortunate ; for it directly reduces the 
number of independent journalists, and has a 
tendency, which deserves more detailed study, to 
increase the insidious and apparently growing power 
of the advertising and commercial departments. Of 
course, we would all rather have one good paper than 
two bad ones; and where two non-dividend-paying 
properties will make one profitable concern, we may 



regret the loss of an independent voice, but we 
cannot complain of the decision. Indeed it may be 
welcomed if it results in the news columns and the 
leader columns being divorced from the advertising 
columns. An honest paper is one in which the news 
is uncoloured and the opinions are unbought. The 
introduction of advertisements which look like news 
into the news columns and the substitution of puffs 
for opinions are two growing mischiefs. A few years 
ago the City page was improving. But since then 
one has observed signs of deterioration, especially 
where independent criticisms might impair the 

revenue. 

Let us turn from the City side, from questions of 
price and success to problems of style — from news- 
papers considered as a business to journalism con- 
sidered as an art. 

When the English newspaper first became cheap 
enough to be popular and widely read, De Quincey 
analysed the effects of this new institution upon 
our phraseology. The healthy and holy horror he 
felt for " journalese " is expressed in the story of his 
flight from the newspaper-reading landlady who used 
the word " anteriorly." The conclusion he reaches is 
that the newspaper style injures the reader more 
than the writer — not, however, because the reader 
reads and reads until he insensibly acquires the 
watery redundancy of his favourite journal, but be- 



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cause, " shrinking through long experience from the 
plethoric form of cumulative and periodic writing in 
which the journalist supports or explains his views, 
every man who puts a business value upon his time 
slips naturally into a trick of shorthand reading." 
Now, with all deference to De Quincey, I should 
have thought that the trick of shorthand reading is a 
safeguard against the infection of a longhand style. 
Certainly shorthand reading has become more com- 
mon and far more necessary in these later days. 
There is no more reason why our English should be 
corrupted by casting the eye over the headlines of 
newspapers than by a glance at advertisement 
hoardings. De Quincey himself entertains the ob- 
jection that where so much is certain to prove 
" mere iteration and teasing surplusage," little can be 
lost by this or any other process of abridgement. 
He seems to admit that no injury is to be appre- 
hended from skipping some verbose article about 
nothing in particular ; but it is the indirect and not 
the direct effect of shorthand reading that he fears. 
The patient, we are told, "suffers as an intellectual 
being, for he acquires a factitious propensity ; he 
forms an incorrigible habit of desultory reading." 
Apart altogether from style, this loose or shorthand 
reading, it is argued, produces inaccuracy. Even 
from the standpoint of accumulating information, 
it were a thousandfold better to "read through a 



score of books chosen judiciously than to have raced 
through the library of a Vatican at a newspaper 
pace." True, but a citizen who skips or skims his 
newspapers will have time for the careful reading of 
real literature. There can be no dispute as to the 
fact that nearly all journalists sin against the golden 
rule which urges us to be terse, so long as it involves 
no sacrifice of lucidity. Verbosity and even repeti- 
tion are not vain in the eyes of the journalistic tribe. 
How many writers in the Press combine brevity with 
perspicacity ? The origin of the evil may be dis- 
puted, and certainly its causes are various. For 
example, many journalists have worked their way up 
through the ranks upon the basis of a penny-a-line ; 
and a man who earns his bread and butter on the 
scale of a penny-a-line is certain to cultivate the vice 
of tautology. Long words are naturally preferred to 
short ones, and the art of circumlocution is con- 
sciously studied or unconsciously learned. I am 
inclined to think that since De Quincey's death these 
temptations have been reduced. Often the pressure 
of advertisements operates against lengthiness, and 
the efforts of the sub-editor (who is more valued now 
than he used to be) are directed to correct the very 
fault which the penny-a-line system has encouraged. 
The sub-editor has to prune the long-drawn periods 
of his colleagues who report, or tell stories, or write 
impressions. 



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Probably after the penny-a-line system (the system 
of paying by the line or by the column) the most 
potent cause of prolixity is haste — the haste in 
which journalists have to compose. The necessity 
for speed produces longhand writing as it produces 
shorthand reading, while the perilous habit of 
dictating to a stenographer emphasises and extends 
the mischief. It is in writing as in speaking. Hurry 
makes long speeches and long articles. Only by the 
expenditure of time and care can the discourse of 
an hour be packed into twenty minutes. And here, 
perhaps, lies the possibility of a reformed journalism. 
When once the newspaper proprietor has perceived 
that circumlocution is the most costly vice of the 
modern newspaper, he will begin to see the wisdom 
of paying more for a terse inch than for a distended 
foot And he may find — after squeezing out the 
water — that the public will be sensible enough to pay 
gladly for a square inch of quality as much as it has 
paid for a square foot of quantity. 

A good test of honesty and competence in 
everyday journalism is its treatment of telegrams. 
Whether the invention of telegraphy has done less 
good than harm to journalism is a vexed ques- 
tion, I hope there is a balance of advantage. But 
the cost of long-distance cabling tempts to undue 
compression at the correspondent's end and inex- 
cusable expansion in the sub-editor's room. Hence 



ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS 151 

the value of foreign telegrams and the valuation 
which should be put upon them vary from news- 
paper to newspaper. Much skill and insight are 
required for their interpretation. The telegram is, 
in fact, our chief stumbling-block. We know as a 
rule how to discount a leading article. Overcharged 
invective and monotonous praise fall ineffectual upon 
the public mind. The editor who declares in leaded 
type that the Government is a gang of crimmals is 
no more persuasive than his rival who assures us 
that these same criminals never stray from the path 
of wisdom and righteousness. Abuse, no doubt, is 
more interesting than praise. Even journalists inno- 
cent of accuracy and logic may possess a talent for 
"general invective," like the youth who once applied 
to Mr. Morley for work on the Pall Mall Gazette. 

The public, I suspect, often reacts too far against 
the opinions which its newspapers seek to impose. 
Certainly some statesmen obtain undeserved influence 
and popularity merely because they are denounced by 
the gutter press. " There must be some good in ' So- 
and-so,' after all," says the man in the street after 
reading a furious attack upon him in the Daily Menace, 
And the silent voter has shown over and over again 
that he is capable of thinking for himself and of resist- 
ing the reiterated opinions of the most popular and 
influential newspapers. But it is another matter alto- 
gether when he reads a foreign telegram, duly dated 



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from some distant place. What is he to say when 
the man on the spot tells him what is thought on 
the spot, and assures him from Berlin that the whole 
German nation intends to invade England, that trans- 
ports are being prepared and that airships are selecting 
suitable landing-places ? We would ask such a per- 
son whether he is aware, or whether the suspicion 
ever crosses his mind, that a certain proportion of 
most telegrams are actually written in London, and 
the more eloquent the telegram the larger the pro- 
portion. I know of one " foreign telegram " which 
was actually concocted in the office for a London 
newspaper of repute. I have seen telegrams of five 
lines converted by a fluent and imaginative sub-editor 
into half a column or more. It is to be remembered, 
of course, that most messages consist of a row of sub- 
stantives, with a very occasional verb, and therefore it 
is absolutely necessary that something should be done 
to produce grammatical sentences. Every telegram 
is condensed, because every word costs money. And 
so a good many " of's " and " the's " and " are's " 
have to be added. The honest policy and the best 
policy is to add as little as possible, and never to im- 
part anything new into what the writer has sent. If 
a word is unintelligible let it be omitted. In this busy 
age nobody wants to read more than he can help, and 
"watered" stock is at a discount. But there is a 
rivalry in the press : a long telegram looks well, and 



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newspaper proprietors like to show that they are 
receiving an immense amount of information from 
all parts of the world. In 191 1 there appeared in 
a great anti-German newspaper the following pero- 
ration to a message "from our correspondent" at 
Tangier : — 

It would be most lamentable if adverse criticism on the 
part of a small and ill-informed minority of the British 
public should in any way menace the continuation of this 
policy, thereby! giving rise to even the vaguest doubts as to 
the mutual disadvantages of the Entente. 

Of course, it is perfectly possible that the corre- 
spondent in question did actually take to the tele- 
graph office in Tangier every word of this message, 
but if so he should, I submit, have received a severe 
reprimand from his proprietors, for the cost must have 
been enormous, and these forty-seven words contain 
no Tangier information whatsoever. They merely 
tell us that the correspondent agrees with the foreign 
policy of his editor at home. The message ought 
really to have been sent from the editor to the corre- 
spondent since it merely informed us that Sir Edward 
Grey's critics at that time were a small and ill-informed 
minority of the British public. 

Judging by my own experience I should say 
that to convert a good telegram into plain English 
will require an addition of about two words (verbs, 
articles, prepositions, etc.) to every word in the 



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despatch. But some editors are so proud of 
having a Foreign Page (which the proprietor can't 
afford to pay for) that they employ unfortunate 
individuals to amplify "our own correspondent," 
adding perhaps ten times as many words as the 
original contained. This plan is stupid as well 
as dishonest ; for if a meaning is added the news is 
falsified, and if not there is merely dilution of sense 
with waste of paper, ink, labour, and time. In normal 
times one has not much fault to find with Reuter's 
telegrams, which are the same for all. But the small 
halfpenny papers have to cut them down, and one 
notices that the best parts are often cut out — not as 
a rule because the news goes against the editorial 
policy (though this does happen), but because a sub- 
editor knowing nothing of foreign politics, underpaid 
and over-worked, has to slash and slice wildly at the 
last moment to make his stuff fit into the column. 
Some foreign correspondents telegraph leading 
articles from foreign centres. Others are agents for 
armament firms, who in good times make far more 
by their trade than by their profession. They 
are apt to despatch false or exaggerated news of 
gigantic preparations by foreign powers. They are 
often to be met with at an Embassy. But in such 
matters foreign diplomacy is more active, though less 
successful, than British. These " mixed " corre- 
spondents are chiefly to be found in the Near and 



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the Far East, in Southern America and in the 

Colonies. 

Upstarts who are trying to buy or brag their 
way into smart society put a very high value on 
newspapers. The ante-rooms of the fashionable 
sheets in which society records its doings are 
eagerly resorted to by gossips and fops and fine 
ladies, sometimes even by Naval Heroes— all in 
search of cheap advertisements. They are waiting 
for the editor : — • Donee Bithyno libeat vigilare 

tyranno. 

This practice, and that of the politicians who 
lay themselves out to coax and wheedle the press, 
is founded on an old theory of the art of climb- 
ing. They may appeal to the story of Psapho 
the Libyan, who, desiring to be worshipped, took 
young birds and taught them to sing " Psapho is a 
god." When they could repeat this perfectly he let 
them fly to the woods, where other birds caught the 
words and repeated them. This chorus of the birds 
so impressed his countrymen that they concluded 
Psapho to be a god and began to offer him sacrifices. 
Several attempts have been made by individuals in 
this and other countries to use newspapers as Psapho 
used birds, but with less success. A campaign of 
adulation arouses suspicion. It is far better to be 
calumniated by the opposition press than to be over- 
praised by your own. I am certain that the influence 



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and authority of our newspapers is much exaggerated, 
though every one admits that for fifty years after the 
passing of the first Reform Bill The Times was regarded 
by the governing classes as a sort of oracle. And 
though generally subservient to the Government of 
the day, it did have some influence upon politics and 
the course of events. 

In 1849 — 64 years ago — Cornewall Lewis published 
" An Essay on the Influence of Authority in Matters 
of Opinion." It will never be very popular — its 
author was pleased to have sold two hundred copies 
— but it will always be worth reading along with 
Mill's much greater treatise on Liberty and 
Morley's companion volume on Compromise. Lewis 
reminds us how hard it is to draw the line 
between facts and opinions, between an object of 
sensation and an object of judgment, and how con- 
fusion is apt to grow the deeper one digs into the 
foundations of consciousness. But the distinction 
between matters of fact and matters of opinion is 
vital to moral and political science. As a meta- 
physician, Hume denied that things exist apart from 
our perceptions of them ; but as a political philo- 
sopher and critic of society, he took for granted what 
everybody took for granted. Hume, said Johnsoni 
would not run his head against a table, even though 
he denied it an independent existence. The differ- 
ence between a thought and a stone wall may be 



ENGLISH NEWSPAPERS i57 

"ultimately" fanciful. Mind and matter may be 
" ultimately " one. But so long as human nature 
and society last all progress and all happiness depend 
upon our thinking and acting in terms intelligible to 
our fellow-creatures. 

Nobody can begin to philosophise upon the power 
of « the Fourth Estate " until he understands that 
there is a sort of rivalry between editorial opinion 
and sub-editorial fact. The authority of the editorial 
" we " is disputed by an innumerable host of mute 
and apparently submissive "men in the street"; 
whereas fact, or what passes for fact, often has more 
influence upon opinion than the most skilful and 
persuasive arguments, or the most brilliant invective. 
Lord Morley once said he would not much mind who 
wrote the leading articles if he could control the 

headlines. 

Every journalist and every intelligent reader of a 
daily newspaper must have at least a superficial view 
of the dividing line between opinions and facts. The 
newspaper professes to give you its facts in telegrams 
or reports, and its opinions in leading articles. The 
best newspapers, it will be agreed, are those that give 
the most faithful accounts of what happens at home 
and abroad, the most accurate reports of important 
speeches, the fairest records of events, whether they 
support or weaken the conclusions of its editor. 
Many journals, of course, succumb to the temptation 



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of making their news help their views. This is the 
crime of crimes — to " fake " correspondence and 
tamper with telegrams. The news columns are sup- 
posed to reflect facts. They should resemble the art 
of an honest photographer. The editorial represents 
opinions — it is a comment and criticism upon facts 
in the light perhaps of ideals and principles, perhaps 
in the heat of passion and prejudice. " I remember 
it was with extreme difficulty," wrote Gulliver, " that 
I could bring my master to understand the meaning 
of the word opinion^ or how a point could be dis- 
putable ; because reason taught us to affirm or deny 
only where we are certain, and beyond our know- 
ledge we cannot do either. So that controversies, 
wranglings, disputes, and positiveness in false or 
dubious propositions are evils unknown among the 
Houyhnhnms." Opinion, as Lewis puts it, is con- 
cerned with matters about which doubt may reason- 
ably arise. The existence of a tree or a ship before 
the eyes of two persons is not as a rule disputable, or 
a matter of opinion, any more than the proposition 
that two and two make four. A full report of the 
same speech by two good shorthand writers will be 
practically identical. But opinions about the speech 
may, and — if it is on a party question by a party 
leader — probably will, vary almost indefinitely. Just 
as the judge has to distinguish between questions of 
fact and questions of law, so the newspaper reader 



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has to discriminate between questions of fact and 
questions of opinion, and also (if he can) between 
what is written in good faith and what is written to 
order— at the dictation of a Government, in return 
for valuable consideration, in lively gratitude for 
past favours, or in livelier expectation of favours to 
come. In free countries we have no press censor- 
ship, but how many journalists can afford to be 
independent? And how many of those who can 
afford to be independent will consistently resist the 
subtle influences of interest, appearing as it does 
under so many specious and attractive disguises? 

The newspaper reader has so little time to spare 
for investigation that he might be expected to swallow 
all that he sees in print, were it not that there are so 
many conflicting versions of the truth, so many 
newspapers disputing for his patronage in various 
accents and with differing voices. Unless he lives 
the life of a hermit, with only a single favourite 
newspaper, our reader finds himself driven into intel- 
lectual and critical activity by perpetual variations 
of fact, and a perpetual clash of opinion. Thus the 
very multiplicity of newspapers deprives editorial 
decrees of their pontifical authority, and accounts 
for a very healthy and, perhaps, increasing scepticism. 
The more we are read the less we are believed, unless 
by solid argument, proven facts and truthful forecasts 
we win the confidence of our public. 



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To illustrate my argument let me take the cases 
of 1880, and 1886, and 1906. From 1877 to 1880 
Mr. Gladstone had been agitating against Lord 
Beaconsfield's foreign policy. He had denounced 
him for supporting the Turks, for invading Afghani- 
stan, and for annexing the Transvaal. In fact, he 
had arraigned Disraeli's " Imperialism " as the very 
antithesis of Liberalism. This policy aroused great 
enthusiasm in the country, but official Liberals were 
undecided. Many of them were at least as im- 
perialistic as their opponents. Among the Radical 
jingoes of that time, perhaps the ablest and most 
influential was Joseph Cowen, editor of the Newcastle 
Daily Chronicle, a paper read by every one who 
counted in Northumberland and Durham. Cowen 
felt so strongly about the merits of the Tory foreign 
policy that he supported it vigorously at the General 
Election of 1880. Here was an able writer with a 
daily paper practically monopolising the attention 
of two counties. He had transferred his allegiance, 
though he was still called a Radical. Yet at the 
General Election of 1880, with this powerful newspaper 
against them, the Liberals swept the two counties, 
only one or two seats being retained by the Con- 
servatives. The case of 1886 is equally instructive. 
The Liberal Government of 1880 to 1885 had been, 
on the whole, a disappointment. It had mishandled 
the Bradlaugh controversy. It had been unlucky 



or unskilful in Egypt, and neither its Land Bills 
nor its Coercion Bills had removed the miserable 
disaffection of Ireland. Nevertheless, the Radical 
programme of Mr. Chamberlain was making a power- 
ful appeal to the democracy, while the passing of 
the Reform Bill, which enfranchised the agricultural 
labourer, put Mr. Gladstone in so strong a position 
that Parnell, wishing to hold the balance, gave the 
Irish vote to the Tories, and so produced the situation 
out of which a Home Rule Bill might be expected 
to grow. Everybody knows how, after the General 
Election of 1885, Mr. Gladstone developed a Home 
Rule policy; how Lord Salisbury's Government, 
when it met the new Parliament in January of 
1886, was defeated on a Radical amendment by 329 
to 250 ; how Mr. Gladstone formed a new Govern- 
ment, but was unable to carry the Duke of Devon- 
shire, Mr. Chamberlain, and Mr. John Bright with 
him ; how the Home Rule Bill was consequently 
defeated on the second reading by 30 votes. At 
the dissolution of 1886 Mr. Gladstone found in his 
appeal to the country that he had lost not only 
some of the strongest and most influential of his 
colleagues, but also some of his most powerful 
newspapers in the provinces. Mr. Chamberlain carried 
off Birmingham and district, and the Birmingham 
Post became the oracle of Liberal Unionism in 
the Midlands. Many other local newspapers left 



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Mr. Gladstone on the same issue, under the influence 
of the Cavendishes and other great Whig families 
which then severed their connection with Liberalism. 
But to all appearance the chief havoc was wrought 
in Scotland ; for the two great organs of Scottish 
Liberalism, by far the most important newspapers 
in Scotland, the Scotsman and the Glasgow Herald, 
refused to follow the hero of the Midlothian cam- 
paigns into his Irish adventure ; and in the election 
of 1886 they threw the whole weight of their 
authority into the Unionist scales. The Manchester 
Guardian, however, the favourite newspaper ot 
Lancashire, which yielded then, as it yields now, 
to scarcely any other English newspaper in com- 
mercial and political authority, devoted itself un- 
sparingly to the cause of Home Rule. The Leeds 
Mercury, too, which still maintained a lead (soon to 
be lost) as the principal exponent of Yorkshire 
opinion, remained with the main body of the party. 
The Bradford Observer also stood in with Home 
Rule. So far, then, as the press was concerned, Mr. 
Gladstone had lost almost everything in Scotland 
and nothing in Lancashire and Yorkshire. What 
was the result of the polls? He held Scotland 
fairly well, but lost heavily in Lancashire and 
Yorkshire. 

A last illustration may be taken from the General 
Election of 1906. Nobody could dispute the pre- 



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dominance of the Conservative and Unionist press. 
The Liberals during the campaign had not a single 
penny morning newspaper in London. The ill- 
starred Tribune only appeared after the polling 
began. In the provinces and Scotland most of 
the penny provincial papers were Conservative, the 
Manchester Guardian being the one great exception. 
Among the halfpennies the balance was only less 
unequal. Upon the whole, it may be doubted 
whether, out of all the political newspapers sold 
in England and Scotland, one in five supported 
Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman. What happened ? 
The Liberal party obtained the most sweeping 
victory ever recorded in our political annals. Once 
more the electors had rejected editorial authority. 

In the face of these instances it is clear that the 
authority of the Press is much exaggerated. The 
number of men who regard their newspaper as their 
oracle must be comparatively small ; perhaps there 
are as many in whom its partisanship excites a 
critical and contradictory spirit. Probably, too, the 
news columns are scanned more eagerly than the 
editorials. When a great political contest takes 
place the elector reads the speeches of the rival 
leaders, and no " live " newspaper can afford to 
reject the good copy which the speech of a popular 
orator on the other side affords. But let us be 
clear as to what is meant by resting opinion on 



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authority, lest we may be deceived by words. If 
one is convinced by a legitimate process of reasoning, 
the opinion so formed does not rest upon authority. 
Nor does an opinion adopted from motives of in- 
terest or fear rest upon authority. A man who 
entertains an opinion upon authority, like the man 
who invests on the mere advice of his broker, does 
so because he believes that the person whose opinion 
he adopts, or whose advice he follows, is likely to 
be right. It may be mere laziness, it may be the 
result of experience. And who shall blame a man, 
who has found his own judgment time after time 
worse than another's, trusting to that other, and 
treating him as a guide, philosopher, and friend? 
The confidence and trust which some public men 
and some journals inspire are great national assets. 
The influence of a fine public character grounded 
upon the constant holding up of ideals, the con- 
stant exposition of principles, the constant appli- 
cation of those ideals and principles to policy, is a 
plain example of the legitimate influence of authority 
over opinion. The same may be said of a news- 
paper which has gradually built up a reputation for 
intelligence and probity. Its influence is measured 
by the trust and confidence of its readers. 



IS POLITICAL CONSISTENCY A VIRTUE? 

ONE afternoon in the autumn of 1912 the House 
of Commons enjoyed a duel between Sir 
Edward Carson and Mr. Winston Churchill, in the 
course of which they mutually reproached one an- 
other with inconsistency. Each charged the other 
with having been a Home Ruler at one period and 
a Unionist at another ; and Mr. Austen Chamberlain, 
who started life as a sort of Home Ruler, as a 
Radical of the deepest die and a Free-trader of 
the most orthodox school, defended the consistency 
of Sir Edward Carson against the criticisms of Mr. 
Churchill. It was urged against the leader of Ulster 
Unionism that he joined the National Liberal Club 
when Mr. Gladstone hoisted the Green Flag and 
left it when the first Home Rule Bill was defeated. 
The public will probably smile over the incident. 
The political opinions of a young Irish barrister, 
taught by the exigencies of a professional career 
to watch the political barometer, should not be too 
severely examined. It was a long time ago; and 

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since Sir Edward Carson became a Unionist Govern- 
ment lawyer he has never faltered. Indeed, he has 
often been more Unionist than his colleagues. His 
real inconsistency lies in this, that his military pro- 
gress through Ulster and his incitements to lawless- 
ness do not harmonise with the character of a Privy 
Councillor who has been the King's Attorney-General. 
Mr. Austen Chamberlain's change from Radicalism 
to Conservatism also occurred at a time when the 
mind is naturally flexible, and his change from Free- 
trade to Protection was at least a shining example 
of filial piety. Besides, most of the Conservative 
leaders went through the formula of calling them- 
selves Tariff Reformers under the stress and strain 
of the raging, tearing propaganda. During this 
same debate Mr. Winston Churchill attributed his 
own conversion from the Tory to the Liberal party 
to Free-trade, though his father had been regarded 
as a champion of Fair Trade. But there was no 
more reason why young Mr. Churchill should not 
have joined the triumphant Liberals in 1906 than 
why young Mr. Carson should not have joined the 
triumphant Unionists in 1887. The real doubts 
about Mr. Churchill during the last year, raised by 
the tone and drift of his speeches, are whether he 
may not be contemplating another change of party ; 
and these doubts have been strengthened by the 
fact that his last book of speeches (a very Radical 



POLITICAL CONSISTENCY 167 

production of the panic year 1909) is no longer 
for sale. But in such cases it is dangerous to 
prophesy. There is certainly now alive a peer who 
has changed his party three or four times. But is 
there any precedent for a politician of Cabinet rank 
" ratting " twice within a decade ? 

In its vulgar or popular form consistency is, of 
course, party loyalty. It is only a rule of thumb. 
You may alter your opinions ; in fact, you must 
alter your opinions if the party programme changes, 
because you are a member of the party, to which 
you contribute such political light or heat as you 
possess. On the whole, this rough test is good 
enough. A politician is a public character. He 
joins the party which attracts him most, and having 
become a member of the crew, he usually sticks to 
it in fair weather and foul. Some men naturally 
think of the party solely as a ladder to promotion, 
a means of attaining office or title. Others happily 
are inspired more by public spirit than by personal 
ambition. They associate their party with principles, 
projects, and ideals ; with a popular hero perhaps, 
or a great tradition. They like public work for 
its own sake. These men are the salt of a party, 
and in the long run they count for far more than 
the mere trimmers and time-servers. An excess 
of consistency and devotion to principle is often 
troublesome to the Whips, whose business it is to 



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get men at all times and in all circumstances into 
the party lobby. There is also a false sort of inde- 
pendence. Thus a low-class politician often affects 
a show of independence when he fails to get what 
he wants. He pretends that his conscience revolts 
against something that has been said or done by 
the leaders, the truth being that he has missed a 
decoration or a billet. The public cannot always 
distinguish between these two classes of " disloyalty " 
and that is one reason why good men are wisely 
anxious not to leave their party except on the very 
gravest grounds. Earnest Free-trade Unionists have 
been heard to say that Sir Robert Peel was not 
justified in breaking up the Tory party in 1846, 
even for the sake of repealing the Corn Laws. 
Earnest Home Rule Liberals have applied the same 
criticism to Mr. Gladstone's policy in 1886. There 
was wit and wisdom in Lord Randolph Churchill's 
irreverent description of " an old man in a hurry." 
A self-governing party cannot be marched in a new 
direction at a moment's notice. 

But though the public likes constancy, it is tolerant 
of one conversion. Just as every dog is supposed to 
be allowed one bite, so every statesman may be 
allowed to break once with his past. The younger 
Pitt, who began as a Whig, a Free-trader, and a 
Parliamentary reformer, ended as the supreme, un- 
disputed and uncompromising chieftain of the stern 



POLITICAL CONSISTENCY 



169 



and unbending Tories. Burke was turned by the 
French Revolution from the champion of national 
and religious rights into the hottest of Imperialists. 
Peel, most correct and official of pre-Reform Bill 
reactionaries, was converted to Catholic emancipation 
and Free Trade. Disraeli began life as a sort of 
Radical-Socialist. Palmerston was a Tory Minister 
for the first half of his life, when the Tories held 
undisputed sway, and a Whig for the second, when 
the Whigs were supreme. He carried the eighteenth- 
century idea of party politics as a game of Parlia- 
mentary tactics down to the year 1865. A favourite 
of Canning, he served after Canning's death under 
Lord Grey, Canning's bitterest opponent. He was a 
colleague of Lord Chancellor Eldon and of Lord 
Chancellor Brougham. Lord Derby, the Tory Prime 
Minister, was a Reformer and a Whig up to 1835. 
He attacked the Irish Church in 1833, and defended 
it in 1 866. Mr. Gladstone was a Tory till 1846, 
a Peelite or Conservative Free-trader till i860, 
and thereafter foremost among Liberal statesmen. 
Mr. Joseph Chamberlain, who from 1880 to 1885 
frightened moderate Liberals out of their lives with 
his Radical Programme and doctrine of ransom, 
while he infuriated the jingoes by his Little 
Englandism and the Fair Traders by his biting 
attacks on Protection, passed through the Irish gate 
into the Unionist party, gave it an over-dose of 



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Imperialism, and finally forced it to swallow Protec* 
tion. Yet most of these conversions from opposites 
to opposites were effected slowly, and by decent 
stages. It is an advantage of our party system that 
the prodigal son is not too readily welcomed, unless, 
indeed, he has a large purse and a small head. The 
more brilliant the emigrant the more difficult he finds 
it to effect a landing save in very exceptional weather. 
A long essay might, indeed, be devoted to the pros 
and cons of political consistency. But the sum, pith, 
and substance of it all can be compressed into a 
few sentences. In public, as in private life, what we 
all prize most is trust and confidence. Variability 
and instability are incompatible with these feelings. 
If we cannot forecast what a person is likely to do 
if he shifts with every change of circumstance, if he 
has no moral rules and no political principles, if it be 
apparent that personal ambition and selfish interest 
are his only guides, then, of course, brilliancy and 
ability will never raise him very high in the public 
estimation. The rigid and unbending consistency of 
the doctrinaire, who avoids all compromises and 
neglects to watch the winds and the tides, is so 
rare that it may be dismissed as a harmless error. 
For political consistency, though it may sometimes 
be pushed too far, is a prime virtue of public life ; 
and it is to our credit as a nation that brilliant vacil- 
lations attract but a light and transient popularity. 



JOHN BRIGHT AND HIS PLACE IN 

POLITICS ' 

ONE day, in conversation with a high authority, 
I remarked — and the remark was allowed to 
pass — that John Bright must certainly count among 
the first six British Statesmen of the Nineteenth 
Century. For administration, indeed, he had as little 
talent as Disraeli ; but skill in handling clerks and 
red tape is no necessary ingredient in high statesman- 
ship. Otherwise, what should we say of Mazzini and 
Cobden, who never held office at all? When we 
have paid our tribute to the genius of administration 
in the persons of Peel and Gladstone, we may con- 
trast, without comparing, the immensely superior 
influence wielded over public policy in the larger 
sense by Cobden and Bright. They were the origina- 
tors, who supplied both light and heat ; the others 
were the skilled engineers and mechanics, who sup- 
plied and fitted the appropriate machinery. Those 
who carried out the ideas of the Manchester school 

* Written on the centenary of his birth. 

171 








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were great men, but were they greater than those 
who formed and propagated the ideas? Is the 
scholar greater than his master? 

John Bright was born at Rochdale on Nov. 16, 
181 1, when Cobden and Disraeli were little boys 
of seven, and Gladstone was just beginning to walk. 
Macaulay, in his twelfth year, was composing heroic 
verses which some Poets Laureate might envy ; John 
Stuart Mill, at five, was communing with the Greek 
philosophers in their own tongue ; Palmerston was 
already firmly glued to office as Secretary for War, 

It was a year of misery and despair, a year marked 
by Wordsworth's sonnet as "the worst moment of 
these evil days." Western Europe lay prostrate at 
the feet of Napoleon. England, unconquered, was 
already invaded by those spectres of famine and ruin 
which clung about her till near the end of the Hungry 
Forties. And the dark clouds of social discontent 
went on gathering for a storm, until, in 1832 and 
1846, revolution was met and mastered by vast 
political and economic changes. When John Bright 
celebrated his twenty-first birthday, the great pre- 
liminary victory was won. The Reform of 1832 
made possible the Repeal of the Corn Laws. Five 
years before his death the enfranchisement of the 
agricultural labourer had converted the oligarchy 
of his boyhood into a representative democracy. 

The Brights came of an old Quaker stock of 



JOHN BRIGHT 



173 



Wiltshire farmers. One of them, Abraham, moved 
to Coventry early in the eighteenth century, and 
there, in 1775, our hero's father Jacob, was born. 
In 1802 Jacob Bright settled at Rochdale as book- 
keeper to a firm of cotton-spinners, and before long 
started manufacturing on his own account. By his 
second wife, Martha Wood, Jacob had a large family. 
The eldest son died young. John was the second, 
and so became the head of the family. His school- 
days began unsuccessfully at Ack worth in 1822. He 
was soon afterwards sent to the Friends' School at 
York, and in 1825 for one more year's training to 
Newton -in- Bo wland, near Clitheroe, where he learnt 
the gentle art of angling. At fifteen his education 
was thought to be complete, and he began to work. 
More will be known of Bright's youth, his friends, 
his pursuits, and the gradual growth of his mind, 
when Mr. George Trevelyan's biography is on our 
shelves. It is enough for our purpose that the boy 
set himself to learn his father's business in the mill 
and the warehouse, became intimate with the 
machinery, and familiar with the men. In those 
days bad times meant wholesale starvation in the 
manufacturing districts. Riots, destruction of ma- 
chinery, revolutionary meetings, hangings and depor- 
tations produced some sturdy politicians, and the 
Radicalism which John Bright learned was robust. 
At the same time, he enjoyed himself. He played 



174 



JOHN BRIGHT 



JOHN BRIGHT 



175 



cricket, fished, helped to start a Rochdale literary 
and philosophical society, gave addresses on Temper- 
ance, and threw himself into a lively agitation against 
Church rates, which ended in a hard-won victory 
over the rich and powerful vicar of Rochdale. In 
1833 Bright travelled through the Low Countries 
and Germany, and in 1836 he made an eight months' 
tour in the Mediterranean, partly by steamer, partly 
in a sailing ship. He saw Turkey, Greece, Italy, 
and Portugal, bringing back a store of varied im- 
pressions, on which, like Cobden, he was to draw in 
many future controversies. 

When Cobden and Bright came afterwards into 
the front rank of politicians, they put their knowledge 
of Europe to good use. Had these two plain men 
of business stayed at home, their great doctrines 
of foreign policy might never have been formed, 
or, having been formed, might have failed, for want 
of practical illustration and of those critical comments 
which observation alone can supply. A Parliament, 
which sat at the feet of Palmerston and hung on 
his lips, listened in blank wonder, when commercial 
upstarts, unbirched by Eton or Harrow, unpolished 
by Oxford or Cambridge, stood up to the here- 
ditary caste, and exposed its moth-eaten policies, 
not merely as morally wrong, but as pernicious to 
British interests. Both had seen the Old Turkish 
horse (not so very different from the Young one) 



on which Aberdeen and Palmerston and Disraeli 
put our money. Both had seen the Don Pacifico 
type of swindler (the Civis Britannicus) in the 
Levant. Both knew, not merely from the Manches- 
ter Market or the Port of Liverpool, but by shrewd 
observation abroad, how much our mills depended 
on foreign markets and our shipping on foreign 
custom, how vastly and overwhelmingly true was 
Lord Derby's saying : " The greatest of British in- 
terests is peace." And so, by degrees, they taught 
their generation to avoid foreign entanglements and 
to keep out of foreign quarrels. By their influence 
the competition in armaments was mitigated and 
the cause of peace advanced. Their lessons seem 
to have been forgotten, and we are paying the 
penalty. A new diplomacy has already given us 
an income-tax graduated up to is. 8d. in time of 
peace, with a scale of armaments unheard of and 
unparalleled. 

It was a common enthusiasm for the education 
of the working classes that brought about the life- 
long alliance between Bright and Cobden, the least 
selfish and the most fruitful political comradeship 
in our political history. With occasional differences 
of temper or tactics, these two dauntless men worked 
together harmoniously, consistently, and strenuously 
in prosperity and adversity, nearly always against 
society, often against the populace, for the good of 



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JOHN BRIGHT 



their fellow men and for the advancement of 
civilization. Each had a strong will and an inde- 
pendent genius, which acted powerfully on the other. 
Their friendship began when Bright was in his 
twenty-sixth year. Cobden had already become 
prominent in the public life of Manchester as a 
municipal and social reformer. So, in 1837, young 
Bright went to see if he could persuade the Man- 
chester lion to speak on Education at Rochdale, 
a place of some manufacturing importance, and a 
Parliamentary borough under the Reform Bill. Long 
afterwards, when unveiling the Cobden statue at 
Bradford, Bright told how, on this occasion, he 
found Cobden in his office in Moseley Street. "I 
introduced myself to him. I told him what I 
wanted. His countenance lit up with pleasure to 
find that others were working on the question, and 
he, without hesitation, agreed to come." 

In that same year, 1837, the year of Queen Vic- 
toria's accession, the famous Anti-Corn Law League 
was formed at Manchester, with Cobden and Bright 
on the first provisional committee. Bright spoke 
several times in the next two years at Anti-Corn 
Law meetings. In 1841 Cobden was returned for 
Stockport, and in September came the great tragedy 
of Bright's life and the noble compact of public 
service, which he afterwards described in such 
moving and beautiful language: "I was at Lea- 



JOHN BRIGHT 



177 



mington, and on the day when Mr. Cobden called 
on me — for he happened to be there at the same 
time on a visit to some relatives — I was in the 
depths of grief — I might almost say of despair — 
for the light and sunshine of my house had been 
extinguished. All that was left on earth of my 
young wife, except the memory of a sainted life 
and of a too brief happiness, was lying still and cold 
in the chamber above us. Mr. Cobden called upon 
me as my friend, and addressed me, as you might 
suppose, with words of condolence. After a time 
he looked up and said : * There are thousands of 
homes in England at this moment where wives, 
mothers, and children are dying of hunger. Now, 
when the first paroxysm of your grief is past, I 
would advise you to come with me, and we will 
never rest until the Corn Law is repealed.' " Bright 
accepted his friend's proposal, knowing, as he said, 
that this description of the country was not exag- 
gerated. " I felt in my conscience that here was a 
work which somebody must do, and, therefore, 
I accepted his invitation, and from that time we 
never ceased to labour hard on behalf of the reso- 
lution we had made." The discussion, he added, 
"whether it was good for a man to have half a 
loaf or a whole loaf," had begun in earnest two years 
before their solemn covenant ; " but for five years or 
more (184 1-6) we devoted ourselves without stint; 



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JOHN BRIGHT 



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every working hour almost was given up to the 
discussion and to the movement." 

When the hour of victory came, Cobden and 
Bright were popular heroes. The governing classes 
had to admit that the new men had beaten the old 
guard. There was still a great work of fiscal emanci- 
pation, but there were plenty of official statesmen to 
do it. The Manchester school now began to preach 
a wider gospel — Peace, Free Trade, Goodwill among 
Nations — and, as a corollary, retrenchment in arma- 
ments. Partly as philosophical Radicals, partly 
because they found more sympathy with their 
views among the working men, they began also to 
preach the necessity for a wider franchise, in order 
that "the greatest number" might have a voice in 
the promotion of its " greatest happiness." 

But social and political progress was rudely stopped 
by the Crimean War. In vain did the two friends 
row against the stream of Jingo sentiment. In vain 
"did they protest in the name of justice, reason, and 
humanity. In vain did they proclaim the doctrine of 
non-intervention. Our Government drifted into war, 
with the passionate approval of almost the whole 
nation. Cobden and Bright fell in a moment, as it 
were, from being the most popular to the most 
odious of public men. Every sort of abuse was 
heaped on their heads. In many a town of the 
North a little band of devoted disciples stood with 



them, but the mass of war feeling was overwhelming. 
Bright was burnt in effigy. Cobden's own constitu- 
ents carried resolutions against him. Probably no 
modern war has been opposed by so small a minority ; 
certainly there is none which the historian finds more 
difficult to justify on any rational view of British 
interests. In fact, within a few years the most 
cynical statesmen admitted that it had been a mis- 
take — we had put our money on the wrong horse. 
But the awful suffering of the Crimean War was not 
all loss. It left a lesson in public morals and prac- 
tical statesmanship which will outlast the barbarous 
empire of our Turkish ally. It left us a national 
heritage in the immortal speeches and letters of Bright 
and Cobden, with some pages in Morley's " Life of 
Cobden," that could ill be spared. Even among 
obscure persons the combination of moral courage 
and common sense is rare. But when popular 
heroes, who might aspire to any office in the land, 
deliberately sacrifice their hard-won popularity — this 
is indeed a spectacle so rare and elevating that every 
reader in every generation should gratefully salute 
and celebrate the names of Cobden and Bright. In 
the House of Commons, indeed, their influence was 
felt all through the Crimean War. There were many 
uneasy consciences, besides some minds free from 
moral pricks, which secretly admitted the force of 
their arguments. You have only to read the debates 



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JOHN BRIGHT 



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and letters of the day to feel this. The insults of 
Palmerston, and the Times, and of the lesser fry, 
were tolerated by timidity and applauded by the 
vulgar insolence which is mistaken for patriotism in 
war-time. Peace had to be made at last ; and when 
it was made most people saw that there were no 
assets. Yet Jingoism was not dead. The brutality 
even of the China War was popular enough to ex- 
tinguish the Manchester school at the polls in 1857, 
after they had beaten Palmerston in Parliament in 
the affair of the Lorcha Arrow. Bright was then 
abroad resting, and unfit for active work. Cobden, 
physically unequal to the strain of one contest, let 
alone two, wore himself out fighting Bright's battle 
and his own. They were both beaten — Cobden at 
Huddersfield, Bright at Manchester. Their leading 
friends were also defeated — Gibson, Fox, and Miall. 
It was a rout comparable (it has been said) to that 
of "the Peace Whigs" in 181 2. How did John 
Bright receive the blow? With serene philosophy, 
undaunted courage, and sublime hope. The more 
one sees and hears of politics and of the eternal 
controversies between Ins and Outs, the more 
refreshing and inspiriting is that admirable letter 
On the Defeat of the Manchester School, which he 
wrote to Cobden from Venice. 

A little more than two years later Cobden had the 
satisfaction of refusing the offer of a seat in Palmer- 



ston's Cabinet. Eleven years later Bright joined 
the greatest Peace Ministry of modern times— a 
Ministry founded upon and guided by the principles 
and maxims of the Manchester school alike in home 
and foreign policy. No one will ever begin to 
understand Bright's political character, or the moral 
authority which he exercised in later life over the 
minds and hearts of his countrymen, unless and 
until he firmly grasps the fact that Bright was 
neither an office-seeker nor a wirepuller; that he 
cared nothing for manipulating a caucus, or for dis- 
pensing patronage. He was, fortunately, independent 
of salaries, not because he was very rich, but because 
his habits and tastes were simple. On the occasion 
of his death, Mr. Gladstone referred in the House 
of Commons to "the extraordinary efforts which 
were required to induce Mr. Bright under any cir- 
cumstances to become a servant of the Crown." Let 
me quote a few characteristic words from this 
generous eulogy : — / 

"It was in the crisis of 1868, with regard to the 
Irish question, and when especially the fate of the 
Irish Church hung in the balance, that it was my 
duty to propose to Mr. Bright that he should become 
a Cabinet Minister. I do not know that I can ever 
undertake so difficult a task, but this I do know- 
that from eleven o'clock at night until one o'clock 
in the morning we steadily debated that subject, and 



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JOHN BRIGHT 



it was only at the last moment that it was possible 
for me to set aside the repugnance he had felt to 
doing anything which might, in the eyes of any one, 
even of the more ignorant of his fellow-countrymen, 
appear to depart in the slightest degree from that 
lofty independence of character which he had hereto- 
fore maintained, and which, I will venture to say, 
never, to the end of his career, was for a moment 
lowered." ^ 

Had Disraeli been alive, he too would have 
done justice to Bright's memory. Disraeli had a 
more penetrating insight into character than Glad- 
stone, and if he lacked the sonorous and majestic 
eloquence of his rival, yet he could sometimes 
reveal a great man in true perspective, and in 
language of almost Tacitean brevity. And here 
let me say that modern political writers, especially 
of the Radical school, are apt to forget the ser- 
vices rendered to Great Britain by Disraeli in the 
middle years of last century. He did nothing 
either to make or to prolong the Crimean War, 
which he described as "just, but unnecessary." 
When scares were being worked up by militarists 
and Jingoes, and the public was alarmed by the 
designs attributed to Napoleon the Third, Disraeli, 
in Opposition — when he might easily have made 
party capital by another policy — " consistently 

» Hansard, March 29, 1889. 



JOHN BRIGHT 



183 



laboured"— I quote the well-weighed words of 
Spencer Walpole — "to remain on good terms with 
France." And when the Invasion Panic led to 
demands for fortifications and armaments, he strug- 
gled " almost more consistently than Gladstone him- 
self" on behalf of economy. He saw that, to 
increase the strength of a country, you should 
increase its resources, and declared that the power 
to raise the incon;ie-tax in an emergency is a far 
more formidable weapon than increased armaments 
in time of peace. Lastly, during the Slave War, 
when Society was clamouring for a recognition of 
the Confederate States, and when both Gladstone 
and Lord John Russell blundered execrably, " Dis- 
raeli never suffered himself to depart from the atti- 
tude of strict neutrality which he maintained from 
the beginning, and preserved to the end, of the 
great American Civil War." On the last point we 
have Bright's own testimony ("Hansard," vol. 177, 
p. 1619), given in the House of Commons to the 
Tory Party : " Learn from the example set you 
by the right honourable gentleman. He, with a 
thoughtfulness and statesmanship which you do 
not all acknowledge — he did not say a word from 
that bench likely to create difficulty with the United 
States." In short, Disraeli had learned much from 
the Manchester school, and if he afterwards for- 
got some of it in office, we must not lose sight 



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JOHN BRIGHT 



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of his self-restraint and prescience as leader of the 
Opposition. 

This digression upon the relations between John 
Bright and Benjamin Disraeli— between the "Old" 
Radical and the "Young" Tory — suggests another 
upon the relations between the leaders of the 
Manchester school and the Philosophical Radicals. 
Originally, if it is permissible to repeat oneself,^ 
the difference and the connection between the 
Manchester Men, or Cobdenites, and the Philo- 
sophical Radicals, or Benthamites, was this: The 
Manchester Men were disciples of Adam Smith 
and Bentham, while the Philosophical Radicals 
followed Bentham and Adam Smith. But what 
really distinguished Cobden and Bright from John 
Stuart Mill and his school were actuality and sim- 
plicity and concentration. Plain men, to whom 
Mill's " Political Economy " was Greek, were quite at 
home with Cobden or Bright. Upon one reform 
— the proposal to exempt peaceful shipping from 
capture in war-time — the two schools differed, for 
Mill at first favoured the rule as likely to prevent war. 
Morley pronounces Mill's argument to be " abstract 
and unreal when compared with Cobden's." Mill's 
half-hearted admission of protection for infant indus- 
tries is another illustration. Bright used to say that 

' See " Free Trade and the Manchester School " (Harper 
Bros.), page xi. 



the practical mischief caused by this paragraph has 
out-weighed all the wise things that are incul- 
cated in Mill's " Political Economy." But another 
and younger philosopher, idealistic in aim, if 
obscurantist in style, was an enthusiastic admirer 
of Bright. This was Thomas Hill Green, a moral 
and political philosopher of no mean order, who 
stood out at Oxford and Balliol against the glit- 
tering materialism of Jowett. A contemporary wrote 
of Green in 1862: "he is a Philosophical Radical, 
but of a very particular kind. Almost all his 
definite opinions might be endorsed by Bright or 
Cobden." His biographer, Nettleship, has recalled 
a passage from Green's maiden speech on a politi- 
cal platform, delivered in 1867. Speaking of John 
Bright, he said : " If he had not kept his light burn- 
ing through the thick darkness of the Palmerstonian 
r^gimey I know not whether the nation would have 
emerged from its political apathy during this 
generation. For many years he stood virtually 

alone, 

'Against example good, 

Against allurement, custom, and a world 
Offended, fearless of reproach and scorn.' 

This is the man who, the * educated Liberals' tell 
us, is not a statesman. I want to know who shall 
have most credit for statesmanship, men who * take 
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God's spies/ and who yet cannot see one inch 
beyond their nose — men who, for these years past, 
have been writing themselves down as asses in 
prophecies which the next week's news refuted— or 
the man who throughout his career, whether in 
regard to the Crimean War, or India, or America, 
has shown a foresight that has been verified by 
events. They call him a demagogue : but whom 
does the name best fit? Men whose trade it is 
to prophesy smooth things to any one who has 
aught to give, or one who has been a butt for 
more insult and contumely than any one in this 
generation? They say he is a revolutionist, when 
they themselves advocate a system which empties 
the country of its yeoman, the natural support of 
true conservatism, and, by treating five-sixths of 
the people as political aliens, leads by inexorable 
necessity to revolution." 

This Oxford stalwart was inclined to regret 
Bright's adhesion to the Gladstone Ministry in 1868, 
just as some may now regret the rapid inclusion 
of independent Liberals in the charmed circle of 
officialdom. It may be interesting to add that 
among Bright's speeches Green's favourites were 
those on India in the House of Commons, June 24, 
1858 ; those on reform and foreign policy at Bir- 
mingham, October 27 and 29, 1858, and at Roch- 
dale, January 28, 1859; and that on the National 



JOHN BRIGHT 



187 



Defences in the House of Commons, August 3. 
i860, the last being "that of a sober man among 
drunkards." After meeting Bright at Oxford in 
1864, Green wrote : " I can best describe him as 
a great brick. He is simple as a boy, full of fun, 
with a very pleasant flow of conversation and lots 
of good stories. He does not seem to mind what 
he says to anybody ; but though he is sufficiently 
brusque, his good humour saves him from ever 
seeming rude. There is nothing declamatory or 
pretentious about his talk; indeed, though very 
pleasant, it would not be particularly striking were 
it not for the strong feeling which it sometimes 
shows." It was about this time, I think, that my 
father and some Huddersfield Liberals met Bright 
as he was passing through the town, and asked 
him eagerly what he thought of the political out- 
look. He answered, with concise emphasis: "We 
shall do no good till that old heathen, Palmer- 
ston, is gone." When Bright once reached an 
opinion on either men or things, it was clear and 
unambiguous. He was "upright and downright.- 
as his old friend, the late Dr. Spence Watson put 
it. And though his mind, like most strong minds, 
had its prejudices and limitations, he was always 
eager for the truth, and careful to master the case 
of his opponents. 
The twenty-five years of co-operation with Cobdcn 




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JOHN BRIGHT 



JOHN BRIGHT 



187 



God's spies,* and who yet cannot see one inch 
beyond their nose — men who, for these years past, 
have been writing themselves down as asses in 
prophecies which the next week's news refuted — or 
the man who throughout his career, whether in 
regard to the Crimean War, or India, or America, 
has shown a foresight that has been verified by 
events. They call him a demagogue: but whom 
does the name best fit? Men whose trade it is 
to prophesy smooth things to any one who has 
aught to give, or one who has been a butt for 
more insult and contumely than any one in this 
generation ? They say he is a revolutionist, when 
they themselves advocate a system which empties 
the country of its yeoman, the natural support of 
true conservatism, and, by treating five-sixths of 
the people as political aliens, leads by inexorable 
necessity to revolution." 

This Oxford stalwart was inclined to regret 
Bright's adhesion to the Gladstone Ministry in 1868, 
just as some may now regret the rapid inclusion 
of independent Liberals in the charmed circle of 
officialdom. It may be interesting to add that 
among Bright's speeches Green's favourites were 
those on India in the House of Commons, June 24, 
1858; those on reform and foreign policy at Bir- 
mingham, October 27 and 29, 1858, and at Roch- 
dale, January 28, 1859; and that on the National 



Defences in the House of Commons, August 3, 
i860, the last being "that of a sober man among 
drunkards." After meeting Bright at Oxford in 
1864, Green wrote : " I can best describe him as 
a great brick. He is simple as a boy, full of fun, 
with a very pleasant flow of conversation and lots 
of good stories. He does not seem to mind what 
he says to anybody ; but though he is sufficiently 
brusque, his good humour saves him from ever 
seeming rude. There is nothing declamatory or 
pretentious about his talk; indeed, though very 
pleasant, it would not be particularly striking were 
it not for the strong feeling which it sometimes 
shows." It was about this time, I think, that my 
father and some Huddersfield Liberals met Bright 
as he was passing through the town, and asked 
him eagerly what he thought of the political out- 
look. He answered, with concise emphasis: "We 
shall do no good till that old heathen, Palmer- 
ston, is gone." When Bright once reached an 
opinion on either men or things, it was clear and 
unambiguous. He was "upright and downright," 
as his old friend, the late Dr. Spence Watson put 
it. And though his mind, like most strong minds, 
had its prejudices and limitations, he was always 
eager for the truth, and careful to master the case 
of his opponents. 
The twenty-five years of co-operation with Cobden 




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JOHN BRIGHT 



(only ended by Cobden's all-too-early death in 1865) 
were certainly the great period in Bright*s public life. 
But though the loss was irreparable, his genius as an 
orator and his authority over the public mind were 
to be again and again displayed. When, at last, he 
broke reluctantly with Gladstone in 1886, he was 
returned unopposed by his constituents in Birming- 
ham. Perhaps the most conspicuous moments in 
these later years were his championship of franchise 
reform in 1866 and 1867, his support of Irish Church 
Disestablishment and of Land Reform, his resignation 
on the bombardment of Alexandria in 1882, his 
attack on the House of Lords in 1884, with a 
remarkable forecast of the Veto Bill, and, finally, 
his letters and speeches against Mr. Gladstone's 
Home Rule Bill in 1886. In the earlier period 
Cobden, no doubt, deserved, as he has received, the 
chief credit for the repeal of the Corn Laws and the 
enactment of Free Trade. But can we be sure that 
he could have won the victory without Bright ? And 
against Cobden's pre-eminence in economic reason- 
ing, and in a train of persuasive argument, we may 
set Bright's intense moral force and the sublime 
flights of eloquence which thrill us still, though we, 
mere readers, cannot hear the voice, or see the 
gestures, or breathe the atmosphere. Is there any- 
thing finer in the history of political morality, or in 
the literature of rhetoric, than Bright's speeches 



JOHN BRIGHT 



189 



against the Crimean War or those in which he 
championed the cause of the American Republic 
against the Slave States of the South? It is just 
possible that, but for Bright, our Government might 
have been embroiled. It is certain that Bright's 
influence and eloquence saved us in the eyes of the 
North. Bright alone among foreigners is honoured 
by a bust in the White House. A yolume of his 
speeches on the question was issued at Boston in 
1865, and the last of his important public utterances 
was an earnest plea for eternal friendship with our 
American kinsmen. 

That Bright should by some have been refused the 
title of statesman is not surprising, when we consider 
how that word has been debased. It is true, as I 
have said, that Bright was no administrator. The 
great administrative statesmen of the nineteenth 
century were Peel and Gladstone. Cobden was the 
chief original and constructive mind, the maker of a 
peaceful revolution. Bright stands to the rising 
democracy as Burke stood to the old oligarchy — an 
inspiring moral force. But there were two Burkes 
and only one Bright. From first to last the great 
Quaker was all of a piece. His very limitations help 
to convey a notion of strength and rugged grandeur. 
Burke's philosophy was rich, varied, and complex, 
like his scheme of economical reform. Bright's was 
plain, simple, and intelligible, like the Act for 







190 JOHN BRIGHT 

repealing the Corn Laws. The secret of his great- 
ness is revealed in a single sentence from one of his 
speeches : " I most devoutly believe that the moral 
law was not written for men alone in their individual 
character, but that it was written as well for nations." 
It was, I imagine, the association of this devout 
belief with a sublime gift for words that made of 
Bright the greatest of English orators. As an 
example of his eloquence let me here cite one 
entrancing passage from a speech delivered at Edin- 
burgh in 1868: "It is a long way from Belgrave 
Square to Bethnal Green. It is not pleasant to 
contrast the palatial mansions of the rich and the 
dismal hovels of the poor, the profuse and costly 
luxuries of the wealthy with the squalid and hope- 
less misery of some millions of those who are below 
them. But I ask you, as I ask myself a thousand 
times, is it not possible that this mass of poverty 
and suffering may be reached and be raised, or 
taught to raise itself? What is there that man 
cannot do if he tries ? The other day he descended 
to the mysterious depths of the ocean, and with an 
iron hand sought, and found, and grasped, and 
brought up to the surface the lost cable, and with it 
made two worlds into one. I ask, are his conquests 
confined to the realms of science ? Is it not possible 
that another hand, not of iron, but of Christian 
justice and kindness, may be let down to moral 



JOHN BRIGHT 



191 



depths even deeper than the cable fathoms, to raise 
up from thence the sons and daughters of misery 
and the multitude who are ready to perish ? This 
is the great problem which is now before us. It is 
one which is not for statesmen only, not for preachers 
of the Gospel only— it is one which every man in 
the nation should attempt to solve. The nation is 
now in power, and if wisdom abide with power, the 
generation to follow may behold the glorious day of 
what we, in our time, with our best endeavours, can 
only hope to see the earliest dawn." 

It was in this noble spirit, with this disinterested 
zeal for raising up the poor and succouring the 
oppressed, that Bright approached popular grievances. 
As a reformer, he was always from five to fifty years 
ahead of the day. It was so with Free Trade, India, 
Irish Land Reform, Church Disestablishment, the 
Limitation of the Lords' Veto. Everything that he 
proposed was based upon plain moral principles and 
common sense. As he was not anxious to get into 
office, and was not troubling from hour to hour about 
his "career," he did not wait for good things to 
become popular before he pledged his support. On 
the contrary, his object throughout life was to make 
good things popular, to drive the reforms and causes 
in which he believed into the region of practical 
politics. When they were there he was quite content 
that others should draft Bills and conduct them 




" 



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JOHN BRIGHT 



through the House of Commons, and obtain what- 
ever credit rapid changes of front can secure. A 
critic, who was more penetrating than sympathetic, 
once declared that Mr. Gladstone was more adhesive 
to projects than to principles. Assuredly Mr. Bright 
was more adhesive to principles than to projects. 
All the same, he had a gift for sketching out a line 
of policy with sufficient definiteness to enable homely 
people to lay hold of it, and he had a good conceit of 
these broad projects, as may be seen in his last two 
great speeches — on the House of Lords and Irish 
Home Rule. In the last-named, he sketched an 
alternative plan, under which Irish legislation would 
have been initiated by Irish members sitting in 
Grand Committee. He described Mr. Gladstone's 
Irish Legislature— the subordinate Parliament sitting 
in Dublin— as "a vestry which will be incessantly 
beating against the bars of its cage, striving to 
become a Parliament "—a picturesque criticism, 
applicable however with still greater force to Mr. 
Chamberlain's counter-proposal of a still more sub- 
ordinate body, to be called " a national council." 

This picturesque criticism of the Home Rule 
Parliament may remind us that Bright was a poet 
and a humorist. He had fancy, pathos, fiery indig- 
nation, as well as the rhetorical art and a talent for 
invective. These qualities will be found abundantly 
by those who are wise enough to read extensively in 



JOHN BRIGHT 



193 



his speeches and letters. It has been said often 

enough that Lucan was an orator rather than a poet. 

But you will find in Lucan, as you will find in 

Bright, some of the purest gems of poetry, and great 

thoughts nobly framed. But Bright had even more 

in common with the mighty satirist of the Roman 

Empire. He is the Juvenal of British oratory, who 

lashed without fear or mercy the vices of a gross, 

braggart, bellicose, and ill-informed Imperialism. 

The Roman chastisement was only for the dead — 

those whose urns were ranged along the Appian 

Way. Bright, in a happier age, was free to strike 

at the living. But for this freedom of criticism the 

British Empire must long ago have sunk into the 

degenerate weakness of Imperial Rome. We need 

not forget Cobbett, Shelley, Byron, Romilly, 

Brougham, and the Philosophical Radicals. They, 

in their several ways, exhibited at various times the 

same independent courage, the same disregard for 

social and political consequences. But Bright carried 

the tradition high, and vindicated the grand power of 

free speech in a free community. He was the tribune 

of the people, and he forced the governing classes to 

make concession after concession to the rights and 

interests of the masses. If the Corn Law repeal of 

1846 can be called a personal triumph for Cobden, 

the Reform Bill of 1866 can be called a personal 

triumph for Bright. The weak-kneed Liberals, who 




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194 



JOHN BRIGHT 



disliked and eventually destroyed the Bill of '66, only 
to make way for the more radical measure passed by 
Disraeli, were immortalized by Bright. Who would 
ever have remembered their leader Horsman if 
Bright had not told us how "he retired into his 
political cave of Adullam, into which he invites 
every one who is in distress and every one who is dis- 
contented"? And what could be more picturesque 
than his description of the ill-assorted alliance be- 
tween Horsman and Lowe ? After telling the House 
how Horsman at last succeeded in " hooking " Lowe, 
Bright continued : " I know it was the opinion many 
years ago of a member of the Cabinet that two men 
could not make a party. When a party is formed of 
two men so amiable and so disinterested as the two 
right honourable gentlemen, we may hope to see for 
the first time in Parliament a party perfectly har- 
monious, and distinguished by mutual and unbroken 
trust. But there is one difficulty which it is im- 
possible to remove. This party of two is like the 
Scotch terrier, that was so covered with hair that you 
could not tell which was the head and which was the 
tail." In the following year he dubbed a similar cave 
(led by Grant Duff and Fawcett) the Tea-room 
Party, and likened their efforts to those of a coster- 
monger and a donkey trying to upset an express 
train. The Bright coinage always rings true. 
Whether you like it or not, there is no suspicion 



JOHN BRIGHT 



195 



of counterfeit. "A mixture of pomposity and 
servility," is what he felt and said about a political 
courtier's speech. "The last refuge of political 
ignorance and passion," is just what Bright thought 
about the House of Lords, and he said it in 1872. 
We may compare his translation of a Latin motto, 
" Omnia pro tempore nihil pro veritate : " Everything 
for the Times, but nothing for the truth," during the 
struggle against the Paper Duties. To Mrs. Booth, 
in reference to assaults on Salvation Army mis- 
sionaries, he wrote: "The people who mob you 
would doubtless have mobbed the Apostles." He 
described the unpopular peace after Majuba as "a 
course at once magnanimous and just." 

Like Macaulay, Bright was absolutely free from 
the servility of the courtier, and in this respect office 
made no difference to him. Thus, in November, 
1878, when Beaconsfield tried to snub plain men by 
a grandiloquent observation that the world's affairs 
are conducted by monarchs and statesmen. Bright 
retorted that history had not taught him the wisdom 
of monarchs and statesmen. "On the contrary, 
almost all the greatest crimes of history have been 
committed, and all the greatest calamities have been 
brought upon mankind, through the instrumentality 
of monarchs and of statesmen. I would rather have 
the judgment of an intelligent and moral people, 
informed as to their interest and their duties." He 



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JOHN BRIGHT 



went on to chastize the House of Lords for throwing 
out Bills introduced to remedy the grievances of 
Irish farmers, concluding with his ever-memorable 
dictum, " Force is no remedy." On Lord Carnarvon 
protesting against this speech as an attack on the 
Sovereign, the aristocracy, and the landowners. 
Bright replied : — 

" I have defended the monarchy ; the defence is little 
needed in this country and in this reign, I have warned the 
aristocracy of danger I wished them to shun. As to land- 
owners, I have been one of the most prominent supporters of 
a policy so necessary for the country and so wise for them, 
that, had it been obstinately resisted, the great landowners of 
England and Scotland would long ago have been running for 
their lives, as some Irish landowners are reported to be doing 
now." 

Of a new name for Protection, Bright remarked : 
" The reciprocity notion is exactly adapted to catch 
the considerable class of simpletons who have no 
memory and no logic." Once a low-class politician 
insinuated that the Brights had supported the repeal 
of the Corn Laws in the hope of being able to lower 
factory wages. Bright said : " He may not know 
that he is ignorant, but he cannot be ignorant that 
he lies. I think the speaker was named Smith. He 
is a discredit to the numerous family of that name." 
A clergyman who had uttered a slander against him 
on the platform was thus dismissed : " I do not know 
what Mr Reade is in his pulpit, but I would advise 



JOHN BRIGHT 



197 



him to stay there, where he cannot be contradicted. 
On the platform he is, what is not uncommon in the 
hot partisan priest, ignorant and scurrilous, and a 
guide whom no sensible man would wish to follow. 
His congregation should pray for him." In 1866 one 
Richard Garth, a Queen's Counsel and member of 
Parliament, uttered some atrocious libels against 
Bright. The letter in reply, perhaps the most con- 
clusive and pulverizing document of its kind, ended 
as follows : — 

" On a review of your speech and your letter, I come to this 
conclusion-that you wished to get into Parliament, and were 
not particular as to the path which might lead to it. You 
threw dirt during your canvass, doubtless knowing that, if 
needful, you could eat it afterwards. There are many men 
who go ' through dirt to dignities,' and I suspect you have no 
objection to be one of them. 

I am, with whatever respect is due to you, 

Yours, etc., 

John Bright. 

Richard Garth, Esq., M.P., Temple, London." 

This small attempt to delineate the character of 
John Bright at the date of his centenary was born 
of a feeling that the country suffered an overwhelm- 
ing loss by his death, that no one man has filled his 
place, and that the only way to repair the loss is to 
propagate his doctrines and raise up new men to 
apply them to the conditions of our time. That 
many politicians should prefer principles to office it 





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198 



JOHN BRIGHT 



would be unreasonable to expect. That titles and 
other decorative rewards of merit should be the 
ordinary goal of public spirit in every party is 
natural. But the influence and authority which 
Cobden and Bright acquired by resolutely preaching 
the doctrines they believed, and resolutely refusing 
to hold office without substantial guarantees that 
their own political characters and opinions would 
not be submerged — these are indeed attainments* 
achievements, services to our country and to the 
world prouder, nobler, and more enduring than all 
the titles and honours that might have been showered 
upon them. 



FRIEDRICH LIST AND THE GERMAN 

ZOLLVEREIN 

BY far the greatest name in the short but rich 
and fruitful annals of economic science is 
that of its founder, Adam Smith. Very high 
among his successors, if our touchstone is to be 
influence upon national policy, stands Friedrich 
List ^— a romantic figure, displaying, through all 
the disappointments and vicissitudes of a most 
disappointing and vicissitudinous career, dauntless 
courage, heroic energy, and unquenchable enthu- 
siasm. 

Whether the man of action or the man of 
thought is the more enviable, admirable, or power- 
ful, is a question of taste which every one must 
answer for himself. In the art and science of 
public finance, as well as in the larger sphere of 
political economy, there is plenty of scope for both 
—for the pure theorist and for the statesman who 
is the practical interpreter, perhaps the mere 
« Born at Reutlingen, August 6, 1789 ; died by his own 
hand November 30, 1846, at Kufstein. 

199 



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FRIEDRICH LIST 



instrument, of other men's ideas. Between these 
two types— between, say, a Ricardo and a Goul- 
burn— there are many intermediates ; and it might 
well be disputed in what order five contemporaries 
— Bastiat, Mill, Cobden, Gladstone, and List- 
should be ranked by the discriminating historian 
of political economy. If Adam Smith illustrates 
very well the superiority that is usually assigned 
to the life of philosophic study and discovery, 
Friedrich List may equally be cited by those who 
regard an active participation in public affairs not 
only as necessary to happiness, but as a positive 
aid and stimulus to political genius. Both views 
may be true. Probably there are such differences 
and distinctions among minds of the highest order 
that in the very same temperature, soil, and 
environment, which bring one plant to perfection, 
another will wither and decay. The sauntering or 
sedentary life of private tutor, university professor, 
and customs official suited Adam Smith well 
enough: it gave him twenty years of golden 
leisure in which to revolve, and ultimately to 
revolutionize, economic thought and commercial 
policy. But such a life would never have satisfied 
Friedrich List. One man's food is another man's 
poison. 

For reasons which, if not obvious, are discover- 
able, List— though his influence on commercial 



FRIEDRICH LIST 



201 



policy and perhaps even on public finance in 
general, once approached that of Adam Smith — 
is neglected in the universities of Europe and 
America. He may perhaps be described as the 
Cobbett of Tariff Reform. Reading List for 
Cobbett and Adam Smith for Paine, a critic may 
be tempted to adapt a famous passage in one of 
Hazlitt's sketches. List, with vast industry, an 
active imagination^ and lively pen, never seems to 
build upon a perfectly scientific foundation or to 
complete any of the work to our full satisfaction ; 
whereas Smith seems to clear every problem that 
he chooses to handle from all controversy — past, 
present, and to come. List provokes us to criticism. 
Smith reduces us to silent consent. Smith takes 
a bird's-eye view of things, though when occasion 
requires he can make good use of the microscope. 
List is always eyeing current controversies, fighting 
on one side or the other with the acrimony of a 
party journalist. The muse of history is his slave 
rather than his teacher. Like Cobbett, he sticks 
close to whatever business he has in hand, inspects 
its component parts, and "keeps fast hold of the 
smallest advantages they afford him." Perhaps, 
too, we may say that he is a pleasanter writer ; 
or at least, that the task of reading him is lighter ; 
for he appeals freely to our natural prejudices and 
combative instincts, is more desultory, less con- 



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FRIEDRICH LIST 



sistent; and seems to be urged upon his path 
rather by an urgent opportunism than by the 
logical necessities of a wide comprehensive and 
scientific argument. Hazlitt says of Cobbett : " He 
is therefore tolerated by all parties, though he has 
made himself by turns obnoxious to all, and even 
those he abuses read him. The Reformers read 
him when he was a Tory ; the Tories read him 
now that he is a Reformer. He must, I think, 
however, be caviare to the Whigs." 

Similarly almost every type of economist can 
find something to abuse and something to praise 
in Friedrich List. He must, I think, be caviare to 
Mr. Balfour. An industrial Protectionist loves him 
as a protector of manufacturers, if a rural Pro- 
tectionist loathes him for refusing protection to 
agriculture. English Tariff Reformers rejoice in 
his denunciations of Adam Smith ; American and 
German Tariff Reformers like to explain that if 
List were now alive, he would consider a policy 
of free trade to be no less wise for the United 
States or Germany now, than it was in his opinion 
for England in the forties. Not that List's 
political career, or his economic opinions, present 
the almost ludicrous changes and conversions of 
Cobbett. It is, rather, that the groundwork of 
argument on which List had to found one part 
of his brief was difficult to reconcile with what 



FRIEDRICH LIST 



203 



was required for the other part. When he was 
growing up to manhood, and began to throw 
himself into politics, Germany was divided into 
a great number of states, some large like Austria 
and Prussia; some of moderate size like Saxony, 
Bavaria, and Wiirttemberg ; others mere petty 
principalities or dukedoms or free towns, but all 
claiming and exercising the right to surround 
themselves with customs houses and to tax one 
another's products and manufactures. It was 
against this paralysing system of commercial feud 
that List directed his first energies as an organizer 
and pamphleteer. In talent, courage, and public 
spirit he was hardly inferior to Cobden. Con- 
stantly distracted, as Cobden was also, by 
pecuniary anxieties, and exiled, as Cobden happily 
was not, from his own home by the tyranny of 
a reactionary Government, he had to live somehow 
by his own exertions, and by the ceaseless activity 
of his wits and his pen. If he was at heart a 
German patriot, his greater Germany embraced 
not only Austria, but in moments of expansion the 
Low Countries and even Denmark. And he was 
a cosmopolitan, a citizen of the world. At one 
time he seemed likely to settle in England, At 
another he almost became a Frenchman. The 
first draft of his principal work was written in 
French. With a little more encouragement at 



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FRIEDRICH LIST 



i 






Washington he might probably have remained in 
America to inscribe another distinguished name 
on the great roll of American citizens. In modern 
Germany or modern America, he might have made 
a fortune in some banking house ; for his versatile 
and enterprising mind had a natural bent toward 
the flotation of financial schemes. He might have 
been, in fact, a prince of company-promoters; but 
he lived a little before his time. His ideas were 
always too large for his age ; and instead of laying 
up wealth, he laid up fame. He did not leave a 
fortune, but he left a reputation. 

Yet List, considering the extraordinary interest 
that attaches to his writings as well as to his 
dramatic career, is strangely ignored. To the Free 
Trader he is a type of reactionary, though he was 
one of the founders of the great free-trade move- 
ment—a movement for the consolidation of Germany, 
which eventually destroyed more customs houses 
and more obstacles to trade than had been swept 
away even by the political whirlwinds of the 
American and French Revolutions. By the modern 
bureaucrats and official professors of his native land 
he is remembered as a rebel against their own class, 
a rash and dangerous champion of free speech, a 
believer in democratic institutions, and a Tariff 
Reformer whose doctrines would be altogether sub- 
versive of the so-called " scientific " tariff of modern 



Tirriri 



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FRIEDRICH LIST 



205 



Germany. If List had had his way, there would 
have been free trade from Rotterdam to Memel, 
and from Kiel to Trieste. This great territory he 
would indeed have surrounded by a temporary tariff 
for the purpose of protecting manufactures (but not 
agriculture) until its "infant" industries were able 
to resist the competition of their stronger rivals in 
England. When the time came, and the industries 
reached the stage at which they could export and 
compete successfully in neutral countries, the pro- 
tective tariff would be removed ; and the consumers 
who had been taxed during this period of pro- 
bation, in order that the productive capacity of the 
nation might be nursed into life and vigour, would 
be relieved of their burdens and allowed to enjoy 
the blessings, not only of cheap food (of which List 
would never have deprived them), but of cheap 
clothing and boots and tools, and all the other 
conveniences of life. This idea of the tariff as a 
nursery grew upon List during his stay in America. 
Had he lived another half-century to see the 
American tariff on worsteds and woollens raised 
higher and higher until the natural cost of warm 
clothing was doubled for the whole American 
people, he might have changed his mind. 

The economic contradictions of List are the 
natural consequence of the part he played as con- 
troversialist and propagandist. As controversialist 



2o6 



FRIEDRICH LIST 



Jl 




he was eager at all costs to differ from Adam 
Smith. As propagandist he thought that the manu- 
facturers with whom he worked could be induced 
to concede internal free trade for the sake of an 
enlarged home market, only if they were guaranteed 
against French and English competition. The true 
answer to this theory is that free trade, by keeping 
the cost of production at the lowest point, gives 
all the industries which suit a country best the 
best chance of success. Moreover, if an industry 
anywhere is likely to pay, capital will be found; 
and capital flows most readily to countries where 
living is cheap and cost of production low. A 
protective tariff is, on the whole, a danger and an 
obstacle to investment. Money naturally flows to 
the places where its purchasing power is highest. 
Nor can vigorous industries be swamped by the 
removal of protection ; for the imports from abroad 
have to be paid for, by those things which are most 
cheaply produced at home. Every reduction of a 
tariff increases the purchasing power of the home 
consumer and reduces the cost of production. And 
every increase of imports has to be paid for, by a 
corresponding increase of exports. It must often 
have occurred to List that if free trade between 
Prussia, Saxony, Holland, and Austria were bene- 
ficial, as he stoutly maintained it would be, free 
trade with Switzerland, Denmark, France, and 



FRIEDRICH LIST 



207 



England must also be beneficial. In the case of 
France, he could answer with some appearance of 
reason that free trade is of no use unless it is 
mutual and reciprocal. We often hear now that 
"one-sided" free trade is a great mistake. But 
when List wrote his principal book, England was 
already throwing open its ports, so that he had to 
fall back upon the infant industries argument, an 
argument that was equally applicable to the case 
of a Bavarian or Swabian manufacturer, who stood 
to be ruined by some more powerful Saxon or 
Bohemian competitor. 

Probably, his real reason for desiring a moderate 
protective tariff for a greater Germany was an idea 
that this, together with internal free trade and a 
national system of railways and a national post, 
would help to consolidate the race. Every patriotic 
German felt at that time the need for unification. 
Without political unification Germany would remain 
what it had been for centuries — weak, poor, and 
distracted, the seat of domestic jealousies and civil 
war, an easy prey to the greed and ambition of 
foreign potentates. If the promise of a protective 
tariff would help the states of Germany to sink 
their differences, pull down their customs houses 
and coalesce, a German economist might easily be 
induced to acquiesce in a moderate measure of 
temporary protection. List himself sometimes 



'i /I 



< !.> 






208 



FRIEDRICH LIST 



FRIEDRICH LIST 



209 



opened out a larger view, as when he said : "If 
the whole globe were united by a union like the 
twenty-four states of North America, free trade 
would be quite as natural and beneficial as it is 
now in the union." 

The poet Heine, whose friendship List enjoyed 
during his three years' residence in Paris (1837-40), 
revisited Germany in the autumn of 1843, ^^^ cele- 
brated the journey in a masterpiece of imaginative 
satire. There is one incident in the piece that may 
have been suggested by his talks with List. At any 
rate, it serves to give us a glimpse of Germany 
in the making. Heine had come to the Prussian 
frontier — 

'• Said a fellow-passenger of mine : 
The Fatherland goes better ; 
See, there is the Prussian ZoUverein, 
The mighty Douanenkette. 

The Zollverein's encircling band 
Will tether the folk together, 

And shield our distracted Fatherland 
From all political weather. 

It gives us an outward visible ark, 

A bond materialistic; 
The inward grace is the censor's mark, 

The union idealistic. 

The censor makes of our national life 

A single unanimous whole, 
We need a Germany free from strife, 

United in tariff and soul." 



It is not too much to say that most of the ideas 
which underlie modern tariffs, both in the old world 
and in the new, were originated or formulated by 
List ; and whatever may be our individual opinions 
of commercial policy, much can be learned from the 
father of the German ZoUverein. 

To form a right opinion about tariffs is one of the 
chief functions of a sound education in political 
economy. In the heat of fiscal controversy no text- 
book can be more useful than one which, alike by its 
virtues and defects, stimulates the mind to further 
reasoning and research. If List's arguments are 
sometimes inconsistent, if his logic is sometimes 
defective, if some of his forecasts have proved wrong, 
if some of his historical illustrations are false, 
so much the more reason for consulting with a fresh, 
active, and critical intelligence the life and writings of 
one whose influence has helped to mould for more 
than half a century the commercial policies of two 
out of the three greatest industrial nations of the 
world.* 

' Most of the above was first printed as an introduction to 
the Life of Friedrich List (Smith, Elder, 1909), by my sister, 
Margaret Hirst. 



^^^^hj^^j^ 



:ir=-^^~--i^ 



'-=>ii>satiaiiBgsalill6iM 



INSULAR FREE TRADE 



211 




INSULAR FREE TRADE— MR. BALFOUR'S 
DOUBTS AND ANXIETIES RESOLVED 

IN January 191 3, after nine years of costly effort, 
the Tariff Reform League lost its grip of the 
Conservative party and the Free Fooders triumphed. 
The occasion or pretext arose in the previous Novem- 
ber. After a series of satisfactory by-elections 
Lord Lansdowne and Mr. Bonar Law under pressure 
from the extreme Tariff Reformers — who controlled 
the party machine — agreed to withdraw the Referen- 
dum pledge given by Mr. Balfour just before the last 
General Election. By that pledge, which was re- 
newed in 191 1 by Lord Lansdowne, the leaders of 
the Opposition had promised not to burden British 
commerce with a preferential and protectionist tariff 
until such tariff had been approved by a popular 
vote. The withdrawal of this pledge in November 
at the Albert Hall is said to have been authorised by 
all the members of the front Opposition bench ex- 
cept Mr. Balfour. But a disappointing by-election 
at Bolton, following a few days after, caused a general 



2IO 



revolt among the rank and file of the party, which 
found first expression in the Liverpool Courier^ and 
was then taken up by other provincial newspapers 
and by the Daily Telegraph, as well as by The Times, 
the Daily Maily and other organs controlled by Lord 
Northcliffe. It seems extraordinary that the party 
in the House of Commons should not have been 
consulted in November ; but it is explained that the 
Whips were under Birmingham control, and en- 
couraged Mr. Bonar Law in a course against which 
he and Lord Lansdowne should have been warned. 
The fact is that the strict censorship imposed by 
Mr. Chamberlain, with the aid of the Tariff Reform 
League, had suppressed freedom of opinion to such 
an extent that the strength of Free Trade sentiment 
in the Unionist party was not generally suspected. 
The suddenness and extent of the revolt was a 
surprise to everybody. But Tariff Reform had been 
a "make-believe." A Unionist was not allowed to 
call himself a Free Trader, but he was allowed to be 
a Free Trader so long as he called himself a Tariff 
Reformer and conformed occasionally by listening to 
one of the paid lecturers. 

The lobby men of The Times canvassed Unionist 
members and discovered that almost the whole 
party disapproved of the new policy. Only twenty 
wanted the full policy. The rest resented the 
withdrawal of the pledge, and insisted that if the 



\S 






>^ 



11 



212 



INSULAR FREE TRADE 



INSULAR FREE TRADE 



213 





Referendum were lost they must be protected by 
some other device against the "Dear Food Cry" at 
the next appeal to the country. Mr. Bonar Law 
manfully declared that this was not the time and he 
was not the man to haul down the flag ; but after 
some delay and negotiations a memorial was signed 
and he submitted reluctantly. Food taxes — that is 
to say the protection of agriculture — were eliminated 
from the party programme. Thus the key-stone of 
the arch of protection has been removed, and those 
who removed it knew what they were about. 

The change grew out of the facts. Tariff Reform 
had been hard hit by statistics. For two years (nay 
for ten years) the Board of Trade returns had been 
fighting the battle of Free Trade. Month after month 
our exports to foreign countries, to the colonies and 
to India had risen from record to record. The 
figures for 191 2 showed that the reports of the trade 
boom had not been exaggerated. The defeat of the 
Tariff Reform League, signalised a few weeks after- 
wards by the victory of a Unionist Free Trader in 
Westmoreland, was a natural consequence of com- 
mercial prosperity. Perhaps it may be interesting to 
go back a little, and to illustrate the decline of Tariff 
Reform by the advance of commerce. This British 
controversy between Free Trade and Protection has 
been watched eagerly by the whole civilised world, 
and it is not a pure accident that the Unionist party 



t . 



^_ 



is finding it expedient to shelve Tariff Reform just 
when a large reduction is being effected in the tariff 
of the United States. 

On September 16, 1903, Mr. Balfour wrote a letter 
accepting the resignation of Mr. Joseph Chamberlain 
from his Cabinet, on the ground that Mr. Chamber- 
lain's proposal almost certainly involved "taxation, 
however light, upon foodstuffs," and that "public 
opinion is not yet ripe for such an arrangement." In 
the following year Mr. Balfour issued a considered 
pamphlet upon Tariff Reform, containing " Economic 
Notes on Insular Free Trade," a speech at Sheffield, 
and another at Bristol, together with the above- 
mentioned letter. In his notes on Insular Free Trade 
Mr. Balfour premised : " I approach the subject from 
the Free Trade point of view," and " with the desire 
to promote Free Trade as far as temporary circum- 
stances permit." He believed in the international as 
well as the national division of labour, and threw no 
doubt on the Free Trade theory when expressed with 
due limitations. He admitted that " the fortunes of 
the Import trade are indissolubly united with those 
of the Export." Nor was he so despondent as Mr. 
Chamberlain about the actual conditions of affairs in 
1903-4, though they were years of trade depression ; 
for, he observed, "in actual fact, we see Britain 
hampered indeed by foreign tariffs, yet able, in spite 
of them, to carry on an export trade, which, if it 



214 



INSULAR FREE TRADE 



M 







does not increase as we might wish, yet increases 
rather than diminishes, and an import trade of un- 
exampled magnitude." But, in order, (he argued) to 
form an exact estimate of our industrial relations, 
" we have to consider not merely what is, but what is 
to be." In other words, "the tendency of trade, not 
its momentary position, is what chiefly concerns us." 
He thought the rate of increase in our export trade 
was unsatisfactory, and that in some branches there 
were "symptoms of decay." What Mr. Balfour 
would have liked to do in order to solve his difficult 
problem in 1 903-4 — the problem whether the Con- 
servative or Unionist party, under the influence of 
the ex-Radical member for Birmingham, should 
commit itself to some new system of protection and 
Colonial preference, and go back upon the policy of 
free imports — was to have been able to compare 
British exports in 1902-3 with British exports in 
1906-7 or 1911-12. 

It may be dangerous to base a fiscal policy merely 
upon experience; but there was certainly practical 
wisdom in Mr. Balfour's plea for a suspension of 
judgment; and, however fantastical some of the 
suggestions and hypotheses advanced in the " Notes 
on Insular Free Trade " may appear, the essay un- 
doubtedly possesses all the subtlety and dialectical 
charm of its author's best compositions. Few 
statesmen indeed, at such a moment of party stress, 



INSULAR FREE TRADE 



215 



t • 



when the hustlers of Birmingham were busily mani- 
pulating the caucus and trying (pretty successfully) 
to drive Conservative Free Traders out of the party, 
could have produced anything half so well balanced 
or half so impartial as this survey. It was quite free 
from the frantic jealousy of the foreigner, and from 
the wildly impracticable desire to tax him.^ "No 
complaint," wrote Mr. Balfour, " is made of the 
relative growth in wealth, population, and prosperity 
of other nations. This ought, on the contrary, to be 
a matter of rejoicing." Nevertheless, Mr. Balfour 
did profess uneasiness about British trade, and " a 
closer examination of the details of our export re- 
turns," as he confessed towards the end of the essay, 
" in no way allays the anxiety which theoretical con- 
siderations this suggest." There were warnings, he 
thought, not only of a diminution in exports relative 
to population, but of a diminution absolute, and he 
saw no satisfactory symptoms of a change in fiscal 
policy abroad : " Highly developed industrial coun- 
tries, like Germany, America, and France, give no 
sign of any wish to relax their Protectionist system." 
In fact, a retrospective study of Mr. Balfour's essay, 
the only really elaborate and non-party expression 

^ Many simple folk have been persuaded by Tariff Reform 
orators that customs duties are a tax on foreign countries, and 
that by this means foreigners can be made to pay for the ex- 
pansion of the British Navy I 



l» 



if! 



2l6 



illl 



iilH!!' 



INSULAR FREE TRADE 



of his fiscal opinions, shows that his whole argument 
for a reconsideration of our fiscal system by the 
nation, and for a suspension of public judgment, 
rested, not upon dissatisfaction either with Free 
Trade or with the volume at that time of British 
trade, but on a fear that our exports might in the 
near future diminish both relatively to our population 
and absolutely in face of the Protectionist policy of 
foreign countries. "I ask the optimists to study 
tendencies— the dynamics, not the statics, of trade 
and manufactures. The ocean we are navigating is 
smooth enough, but where are we being driven by 
the tides ? " If— he seemed to argue—" the course of 
trade in the next few years, and especially the course 
of our manufactured exports, were, unhappily, to 
confirm my anxieties, and exhibit real symptoms of 
decay, then it might be right for the Conservative 
party to adopt the revolutionary changes proposed 
by Mr. Chamberlain, and embark upon a full-blown 
policy of Tariff Reform." But if not, and if, on the 
contrary, the dynamics of British trade were to prove 
far better even than the statics, then obviously the 
nation need trouble its head no further, and its 
leader's anxieties being completely relieved, there 
could be no object in the Unionist party making 
itself unpopular, and even ridiculous, by advocating 
surgical operations or disagreeable medicines for 
diseases which had proved imaginary. If the British 



INSULAR FREE TRADE 



217 



patient, whose pulse Dr. Balfour was then feeling, 
were to become more and more prosperous and 
robust Dr. Chamberlain's knife and Dr. Chamber- 
lain's pills would not have to be called into requi- 
sition. 

The question therefore now is, to what conclusion 
Mr. Balfour's incursion into dynamics will lead the 
honest fiscal inquirer, who, taking Mr. Balfour's test, 
relies upon the exhibit of British exports, and upon 
the experience of the years succeeding 1902, to which 
Mr. Balfour appealed. The following is the principal 
table, appended to " Insular Free Trade," which was 
supposed to show the stationary condition of British 
trade during a period (be it remembered) of falling 

prices : — 

Table A. (i) 



Year. 



1881 

1886 

1891 

1896 

19OI 



Value of Exports of 
British Produce Except Ditto per head 
Coal, Machinery, and of Population. 



Ships. 
Thousand £. 

2i5,277>ooo 
193,186,000 

213,270,000 

208,931,000 

222,726,000 



£ 

6*2 

5-3 
5-6 

5*3 
5'4 



:i 



Mr. Balfour's argument for excepting coal, 
machinery, and ships has always struck me as 
the most frivolous part of his method. He might 
as well have excepted cocoa, cutlery, and cotton 
goods ! Coal is a great employer of labour, and its 



ii- 



w 



I 



2l8 



INSULAR FREE TRADE 



bulk makes it an invaluable export for the shipping 
trade. Machinery is, perhaps, the most highly- 
finished and costly of all our great manufactures. 
Ships are our special pride, and the more we sell 
abroad the better for our yards and our trade. Why 
include jam and omit ships ? I shall, therefore, begin 
with a supplementary table, giving the total exports 
of British produce, including coal, machinery, and 
ships, to which, for the sake of our ports and 
shipping trade should really be added the re-exports 
of foreign and colonial produce. But these are 
omitted, in order to show exactly how far Mr. 
Balfour's own argument should have led a statistician 

at the time. 

Table A. (2) 



Year. 

1881 
1886 
189I 
1896 
I90I 



Total Exports of 

British Produce. 

Thousand £. 

234>023 ^ 

212,433 ' 

247.235 ' 

240,146 * 
280,022 



Ditto per head 
of Population. 

670 

579 

654 
6-o8 

678 



To show the real growth of trade during these 
20 years an addition of about 15 per cent should 
be made on account of the fall in prices, />., the 
appreciation of gold. 

I now come to the "dynamics" of trade and 

* Values of ships and boats not included in the Official 
Returns prior to 1901. 



INSULAR FREE TRADE 



219 



manufactures, which were concealed from Mr. 
Balfour's vision in the critical years of 1903 and 
1904. No doubt the commercial depression which 
naturally followed the Boer War accounted for much 
of the pessimism that upset Mr. Chamberlain's 
balance, and even slightly shook the more reasoned 
foundations of Mr. Balfour's fiscal faith. First of all, 
let us continue the total export table, which stopped 
at 1901. Table B supplies the figures from 1902 to 
1912, showing the value of British exports according 
to the Statistical Abstract of the United Kingdom. 



BLE B. 




Total Export of 


Ditto per head 


British Produce. 


of Population. 


Thousand £. 


£ 


283,424 


^IS 


290,800 


6-87 


300,711 


7'oo 


329,817 


7*62 


375>575 


860 


426,035 


9*66 


377,104 


8-47 


378,180 


8-40 


430>385 


9-58 


454»ii9 


10-03 


487,434 


1071 



Year. 

1902 
1903 
1904 

1905 
1906 

1907 

1908 

1909 

1910 

191 1 

1912 



Table C sets out the exports to which Mr. Balfour 
objected, and upon which, presumably, a scientific 
scheme of Tariff Reform would impose export 
duties : — 




220 



INSULAR FREE TRADE 



ri 





Table C 


« 




l/^^k. 


Exports of 


Exports of 


Exports of 


Year. 


Coal. 


Machinery. 


Ships. 




Thousand £. 


Thousand £. 


Thousand £ 


1902 


26,307 


18,755 


5,872 


1903 


26,036 


20,058 


4,284 


1904 


25,491 


21,065 


4,455 


1905 


24,859 


23,260 


5,431 


1906 


30,069 


26,772 


8,644 


1907 


40,170 


31,743 


10,018 


1908 


39*546 


31,000 


10,567 


1909 


35>3Jt9 


28,058 


5,927 


I910 


36,100 


29,271 


8,770 


191 1 


36,521 


30,961 


5,663 


1912 


40,495 


33,162 


7,032 




If these are deducted, Mr. Balfour's table (A (i)) 
may be continued as follows: — 



Table D. 




Exports of British 


T^SAA^n ■& <k^ t. J 


Produce except Coal, 
Machineiy, and Ships. 


Ditto per head 
of Population. 


Thousand £. 


£ 


232,490 


5*5 


240,422 


57 


249,700 


5-8 


276,267 


6-4 


310,090 


71 


344,104 


7-8 


295,991 


67 


308.876 


6'9 


356,244 


79 


380,974 


8-4 


406,745 


8-9 



; 



Year. 

1902 
1903 
1904 

1905 
1906 

1907 

1908 

1909 
1910 

1911 

1912 

If Mr. Balfour was fairly well satisfied with the 
"statics'" of British trade at the outset of Mr. 



r • 



INSULAR FREE TRADE 



221 



Chamberlain's campaign, his anxieties as to its 
"dynamics" must long since have yielded to joy 
and pride in the magnificent forward strides which 
our export trade has taken during the last eight 
years. Mr. Balfour, in fact, and not Mr. Bonar Law, 
is the proper person to restore Tariff Reform to the 
grave where it was buried by Disraeli. 



*"W| 



1 



n 



TIME AND SPEED 

A S life lengthens its pace seems to increase. 

-^"^ Perhaps we think less while we do more. 

What a German calls the Mechanisierung of the 

universe has both accelerated the rate and enlarged 

the volume of transactions. " Hustling and hurrying 

we lay waste our powers " ; so another Wordsworth 

might write if he found himself in the New York 

subway or a London tube. But let justice be done 

to the mechanical inventor. Thanks to Arkwright 

and Watt and Stephenson and the rest of them, 

machinery is everywhere doing the work of muscle. 

In return for the same output of energy, labour and 

skill receive far greater rewards than fell to the 

handicraftsmen in olden days. If we are busier that 

is our own fault. Invention has given us leisure if 

we would have it. But most men prefer to pursue 

wealth. Business is their most interesting occupation. 

It is because the majority find leisure so tedious 

that time-saving appliances generally have only 

increased the strain upon captains of industry. 



322 



TIME AND SPEED 



223 



Here, however, I shall disregard the general effect 
of inventions and look merely at improvements in 
transit and communication. 

" Since the mending of roads in England forty or 
fifty years ago," so Adam Smith told his class at 
Glasgow in 1762, "its opulence has increased enor- 
mously." This may have sounded more like a 
paradox than a platitude in days when the prosperity 
of trade was supposed to depend upon tolls and 
octroi and customs and State regulations of all kinds. 
But Adam Smith was a wise teacher. He did not 
say "easy communications make good trade," but 
"after the improvement of communications in 
England trade improved and wealth increased." 
Post hoc ergo propter hoc. To make a real argument 
acceptable one may clothe it in the guise of a 
fallacy. Learners easily step by analogy from one 
experience to another. Correct ratiocination appeals 
only to trained and accurate minds. So the boys at 
Glasgow received the truth in small doses of common- 
sense — experience and argument mixed as here in 
the laying together of two facts causally connected. 
Most of us can see now that the difference between a 
good road and a bad one means less strain on the 
horses, less wear and tear for wagons and carriages, 
and, above all, an increase in speed. It means, in 
short, a saving of time and money in both goods and 
passenger traffic. Smith wanted his north country- 



|! 



I'l 



r 



#fl 



^'mmImh- 



224 



TIME AND SPEED 



ill' 







men to take a leaf from the book of English 
experience. A few miles off, at the old town of Ayr, 
a younger Scot, John Loudon Macadam, hardly out 
of his cradle, was destined to give his name to the 
language by revolutionizing the art of road-making. 
At the time Smith spoke there was only one stage 
coach on the road from London to Edinburgh. It 
ran once a month from each capital, taking from 
twelve to fourteen days to cover the 400 miles which 
separate the Edinburgh Rock from the London 
Stone. The English part of the road was much 
better. As early as 1706 a stage coach made its 
way twice a week from London to York in four days, 
returning in the same time. In 1810 Macadam began 
to succeed as a road-maker, and twenty years later 
the first mails were carried by railway. But taking 
1730 to 1830 as the period of the great improvement of 
roads for horse-drawn vehicles, we get an accelera- 
tion in passenger traffic of something like 600 per 
cent. ; for in the early years of the nineteenth century 
the mail coach from Edinburgh to London began to 
accomplish the journey of 400 miles in less than 
two days.^ An inside place cost 11 J, an outside 
7j guineas, apart from tips and meals. 

The construction and improvement of roads were 
not universally welcomed. It is related in the 

* 42I hours seems to have been the final rate. See " The 
Great North Road," by C. G. Harper, p. 58. 



TIME AND SPEED 



225 



" Wealth of Nations " that early in the eighteenth 
century some of the Home Counties petitioned Parlia- 
ment against the extension of turnpike roads, fearing 
that the remote counties, where labour was cheaper, 
would be able to undersell their grass and corn in the 
London market, and so reduce suburban profits and 
rents. Whatever facilitates transit, whether it be a 
better road, or a canal, or a railway, multiplies the 
competition of commerce, and tends to equalize 
prices, reducing them in large towns, and raising the 
rewards of labour in distant places where the pro- 
ducer has previously been without a market for his 
surplus stock. 

A stretch of forty years from 1830 to 1870 may be 
counted as the second period in the modern history 
of land transit, at least for well-populated, enter- 
prising, and civilized countries like Great Britain. 
It is the period of railway construction. In that brief 
period all our towns were connected by a network 
of lines, and the feverish energy of railway pro- 
moters left comparatively little to be done so long as 
the steam locomotive running upon steel lines provides 
the cheapest form of long-distance rapid traction. If 
an express mail coach made the journey from Edin- 
burgh to London a century ago in less than two days, 
as against twelve days in 1760, the speed has again 
been accelerated six times ; for the distance is now 
covered by an express train in less than eight hours, 

Q 



<!■ 



)\\ 



226 



TIME AND SPEED 



m 



\ 

I J 



while the fare has been reduced from about ;f 12 to 
32 shillings. Even after our main roads had been 
macadamized and brought to a high state of perfec- 
tion, the cost and slowness of cartage made long- 
distance traffic by road impossible for perishable 
goods and unremunerative for cheap ones. Hence 
the value of canals and the large amounts of capital 
which were devoted to the improvement of water 
transit in the eighteenth century. But what have not 
railways done for society ? Seventy or eighty years 
ago handloom weavers of flannels at Saddleworth, on 
the Yorkshire moors, were wont, after finishing a 
piece of about 50 yards, to carry it on their backs 
to sell it in Manchester, 12 miles away, where 
they found their best market The locomotive has 
done at least as much as the power loom for the 
weavers of Lancashire and Yorkshire. 

Sea travel has gained in the last century less 
perhaps in speed, but even more in comfort and 
security. A first-class liner takes us from South- 
ampton or Liverpool to New York within the week. 
In 18 19 George Ticknor, the historian of Spanish 
literature, made his way back to America in " a regu- 
lar New York packet," and the voyage is described 
as "prosperous and smooth, occupying but thirty- 
seven days." According to Cobbett "a cabin 
passage," at that time, for one person from England 
to the United States cost from thirty to forty-five 



TIME AND SPEED 



227 



pounds. The inconveniences for women and chil- 
dren were almost indescribable. 

The third period of improvement in land transit — 
from 1870 to the present time — is conveniently 
marked by the Tramways Act of 1870. These years 
saw a great development of electric traction as well 
as the invention of the bicycle, the motor-car, and 
the flying machine. When mechanical genius had 
perfected the railway train in all essentials, the task 
of enriching and civilizing the world by constructing 
lines, wherever density of population or natural 
wealth promised the investor a sufficient profit, was 
laid upon capital. Where there is no prospect of 
profit a Government will often build a line for 
strategic or political ends. So railways are still 
being constructed in America, Asia, and Africa. 
But as practical invention ever follows in the wake 
of discovery, so do the promoters and the capitalists 
pursue the inventor, multiplying his models and 
extending his achievements over land and sea in a 
thousand profitable projects. The inventor, mean- 
while, was turning to other fields. The conversion of 
electricity into a power comparable with steam 
opened up new possibilities for traction. The clumsy 
horse and steam tramways were converted into elec- 
tric tramways, and by the same means the under- 
ground railways in great cities were relieved of 
smoke. How far this process will go no one can 



f 



228 



TIME AND SPEED 



say, but it is already an accepted maxim that 
in populous areas, where frequent services are re- 
quired, electrification usually pays. 

So far, in catering for speed, mechanical invention 
had done vast good, with few, if any, countervailing 
disadvantages. The melancholy forebodings of old- 
fashioned Conservatives like the Duke of Wellington, 
to whom railways spelt national decadence and ruin, 
proved almost wholly unfounded. The towns which 
refused to admit railway stations have bemoaned 
their mistake ever since. Almost equally wonderful 
and beneficial was the bicycle, a supplementary boon 
which has immensely extended the activity and 
range of active people. At first the bicycle was a 
fashionable luxury of the rich ; now it is a means of 
innocent and healthy enjoyment for all classes, and 
an indispensable necessity of daily life to many for 
whom this time-saving machine provides profitable 
work at a distance from their homes. The cycle is 
also a factor in distribution — invaluable to shop- 
keepers who cannot afford a horse and trap. 

Two later inventions have brought no such certain 
or unmixed gain. The petrol engine applied to loco- 
motion is superseding the horse, and is competing 
with tramways and even with railways for short- 
distance traffic. The old slow horse omnibus has 
almost disappeared, and the motor-bus, after ruining 
many investors, has apparently established itself. It 



TIME AND SPEED 



229 



is a cheap and quick means of locomotion in large 
towns, and a useful "feeder" to railways. The motor- 
car began to be a nuisance soon after the beginning 
of this century, and the rapid popularity which it 
gained among the rich is responsible for the utter 
failure of Parliament to impose reasonable restric- 
tions. There is no doubt that if the greatest 
happiness of the greatest number were our test, the 
pleasure car would stand condemned. Its principle 
seems rather to be the smallest happiness of the 
smallest number. It gives far more pain than plea- 
sure, far more annoyance than comfort. I once 
described it as a device for enabling rich idlers to 
save time. It is a snare to men of business who sit 
in a car when they ought to be using their legs. 
Such pleasures should be seldom used : — Voluptates 
commendat rarior usus. But when one considers how 
much property it injures, how many lives it destroys, 
how it smothers pedestrians and gardens with dust, 
what enormous damage it has caused to the roads, 
there can be no question that the benefits of the few 
are obtained at an utterly disproportionate cost to. 
the many. Where motor-cars are very numerous 
cycling and riding have been abandoned as means 
of recreation. The revelation of motor-car luxury, 
and of the utter disregard which many chauffeurs 
entertain for the comfort and safety of others, has 
been by general admission one of the incentives to 



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TIME AND SPEED 



labour unrest. The Passion for Speed is shared by 
most magistrates, and homicide when committed by 
motorists is punished as a trivial offence. Of the 
flying machine, it may be said that so far it offers all 
the disadvantages of the motor-car, with none of the 
advantages. The high flier may commit either 
suicide or homicide, or both. If he tries his luck 
often he is sure to come to grief His only claim so 
far to consideration is that he has added, like the 
submarine, to the horrors and terrors of modem 
warfare. 



FOREIGN TRAVEL 



l\ 



THINGS near us are seen life-size, and distance, 
while it enchants the imagination, destroys the 
reality. That is a good reason why those who want 
to know the truth about the world should travel. 
If it were not for books, telegrams, and letters, 
Australia or China would look smaller and less 
important to the average Englishman than his 
neighbour's field. And even with the aid of books 
and newspapers it needs a large stock of intelligent 
sympathy to understand countries and peoples one 
has never seen. But invention is fast removmg 
the physical obstacles to knowledge of the world. 
Already railways and steamers have made the journey 
from London to Chicago quicker and pleasanter by 
far than was the journey from London to Edinburgh 
two centuries ago. English comforts and American 
luxuries, French dinners and German waiters, are 
everywhere at the service of wealth. Wherever 
there is plenty of sport, good air for invalids, or 
good markets for merchandise, good hotels will be 



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FOREIGN TRAVEL 





found. The watchful eye of capital, which knows 
no national prejudices in its unceasing search for 
high interest and adequate security, is always looking 
for opportunities, and the taste for travel grows 
with the facilities. Switzerland was the first play- 
ground of Europe. The world is now covered with 
playgrounds, to which active idlers and weary 
money-makers flock in obedience to the varying 
fashions of smart society, of sport, or of medical pre- 
scription. The African desert, Kashmir, California, 
Japan, the Canary Isles, Bermuda, the isles of Greece, 
Uganda, British Columbia, are not too remote for 
the modern globe-trotter. The commercial traveller 
is ubiquitous ; and " our own correspondent " pursues 
wars and rumours of wars as keenly as the hunter 
tracks his quarry. And it is all so new. The 
stupendous transcontinental railways of North and 
South America, of Russia, and Siberia, are hardly 
older than the luxurious steamers that cross the 
Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. No wonder, then, as 
the conditions of travelling in all parts of the worid, 
by sea and land, become every year easier, if the 
number of those who travel for pleasure or profit 
steadily increases. The cheapness of swift transport 
has brought also those portentous movements of 
emigrants who go in search of work and higher 
wages from the Old to the New Worid, or wander 
on the same quest from one European country to 



FOREIGN TRAVEL 



233 



another. This constant flowing and ebbing of labour 
to occupy new farms in new countries and to meet 
the demands of harvesting or of trade booms is of 
profound interest. But it belongs to another category 
altogether. The poor emigrant has little in common 
with the well-to-do tourist, or commercial traveller. If 
he is not in search of a new home and a new patriotism, 
he intends at least to make a little pile before he 
returns to the land of his birth. English nurses and 
philanthropists who visited the red cross hospitals at 
Belgrade, Sofia and Athens during the Balkan war 
were astonished to find how many wounded men 
could speak our tongue. That vast political and 
economic changes may hang from such movements 
a^ these no one who has studied the develop- 
ments in Siberia, Manchuria, Canada, Argentina, or 
Australia can doubt. And, on the whole, emigration 
is a mighty factor in raising the rewards of labour 
as well as in spreading freedom, intelligence and 

civilization. 

But what of the modern tourist ? Is he as good a 
man as his predecessor, who faced so much more 
risk and discomfort a hundred years ago? Com- 
parisons no doubt are difficult, but there is room to 
fear that against a great increase in the volume must 
be set some decrease in the advantages of travel. 
Sight-seeing, transient pleasures, winter sports, the 
artificial risks and excitements of mountaineering are 



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FOREIGN TRAVEL 



the modern incentives to going abroad. Your modern 
traveller may pass with every luxury by day and a 
comfortable berth at night to any city in Europe, and 
there reside in a luxurious hotel, surrounded by cos- 
mopolitan attendants, who know nothing and care 
less of the city or country in which they are accumu- 
lating tips. After travelling in this way from one 
grand hotel to another, he may return from his trip 
in blissful ignorance of the language, the people, the 
habits, and prejudices of the country he has visited. 
He and his like have seen sights and compared hotels, 
but that is the whole story. In short, they are only 
tourists conducted or unconducted. Innocent they 
went and innocent they return of languages, 
institutions and laws other than their own. In the 
old days travelling was slow, uncomfortable, and 
comparatively dangerous ; but it was also compara- 
tively instructive. The German or Italian waiter 
with a certain smattering of English or French was 
unknown ; there were no first-class hotels, no Baedeker, 
no Cook. To travel was to learn by personal obser- 
vation. "There is no map," said one of our old 
writers, " like the view of the country. Experience is 
the best informer. And one journey will show a man 
more than any description can." Claudian in some 
charming lines depicted the happiness of the old 
countryman who had spent his whole life on his own 
farm and thought the neighbouring city of Verona 



FOREIGN TRAVEL 



ns 



more remote than the Indies.^ But the felicity of 
rural life is more admired by the poet than relished 
by the peasant. We all like what we have not got. 
The city man fancies pigs and poultry ; the farmer's 
son wants to be a clerk. Feltham, answering Clau- 
dian, remarks : " But surely travel fulleth the man ; 
he hath lived but locked up in a larger chest, which 
hath never seen but one land. A kingdom to the 
world is like a corporation to a kingdom ; a man may 
live in it like an unbred man. He that searcheth 
foreign nations is becoming a gentleman of the world." 
To which Claudian might have rejoined that where 
ignorance is bliss it is folly to toil for knowledge. 
And even our own sage did not think it fit that 
every man should travel: "it makes a wise man 
better, and a fool worse " ; for the fool gains nothing 
but the gay sights, vices, and " apery " of a country. 
He shames his own land by playing the fool abroad, 
and he shames foreigners by bringing home their 

follies. 

Every one has his own ideas of pleasure and must 

be his own arbiter. 

Velle suum cuique est, nee voto vivitur uno. 

" Let me have a companion of my way, were it but 
to remark how the shadows lengthen as the sun 

» Proxima cui nigris Verona remotior Indis, 
Benacumque putat littora rubra lacum. 



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FOREIGN TRAVEL 




declines." So wrote Sterne with Sternian pathos. 
" One of the pleasantest things in the world is going 
a journey " says Hazlitt, " but I like to go by myself. 
I can enjoy society in a room ; but out of doors 
nature is company enough for me." He could not 
see the wit of walking and talking at the same time. 
" The soul of a journey is liberty, perfect liberty, to 
think, feel, do, just as one pleases." But he makes an 
exception of going abroad. " I should not feel confi- 
dent in venturing on a journey in a foreign country 
without a companion. I should want at intervals to 
hear the sound of my own language. There is an 
involuntary antipathy in the mind of an Englishman 
to foreign manners and notions that requires the 
assistance of social sympathy to carry it off." I give 
my vote unhesitatingly for a companion in travel. 
Let him be enterprising rather than adventurous, 
fond of walking, a diligent student of Baedeker, a 
linguist if possible, and, above all, good humoured. 
An irritable person should travel alone. So should 
those who, having only one language, will talk loud 
in a foreign caf(6. Doubtless the solitary traveller 
learns most. Lord Bacon's young man who has " to 
put his travel into a little room" is enjoined, after 
gaining some entrance into the language of a foreign 
town, to " sequester himself from the company of his 
countrymen, and diet in such places where there is 
good company of the nation where he traveleth." 



FOREIGN TRAVEL 



237 



He is to seek acquaintance with secretaries of 
ambassadors— there were no foreign correspondents 
then— and visit eminent persons of great name " that 
he may be able to tell how the life agreeeth with the 
fame." And on his return let him keep up a corre- 
spondence with the best of his foreign acquaintances; 
and let his travel appear in his conversation rather 
than in his dress or manners. 

What, then, are the higher advantages to be gained 
by travel ? It would be difficult to improve upon the 
hints given in the old essays, which partly suggested 
this discourse. We are there told that if a man 
would better himself by travel he should observe and 
comment, noting what is bad to avoid it, and taking 
the good into use. He should register his experi- 
ences with the pen lest they slide away unprofitably. 
He should master the language of the country, not 
merely to read books but to read men ; for to be 
well read in men is better than any book-learning, 
and one who is abroad should seek converse with the 
best, choosing not by the eye but by fame. " For the 
State, instruction is to be had at the Court; for 
traffic, among merchants ; for religious rights, the 
clergy ; for government, the lawyers ; and for the 
country and rural knowledge, the boors and peasantry 
can best help you. All rarities are to be seen, espe- 
cially antiquities ; for these show us the ingenuity of 
elder times in act, and are in one both example and 



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FOREIGN TRAVEL 



precept. By these, comparing them with modern 
invention, we may see how the world thrives in 
ability and brain. But, above all, see rare men. 
There is no monument like a worthy man alive. We 
shall be sure to find something in him to kindle our 
spirits and enlarge our minds with a worthy emula- 
tion of his virtues." 

To learn something about the manners, opinions 
and social conditions of foreigners it is well to travel 
third class and by slow trains. The more you hurry, 
the less you see. One of the most interesting 
journeys that I remember was from Agram to a 
small town in Carniola. I had a three-cornered 
conversation with a Vienna merchant, a Czech from 
Bohemia, and a Croatian. Many topics were touched 
and much ground covered while the train did its 
forty miles in four short hours, discharging at every 
station a load of picturesque peasants returning from 
the Agram market. To travel on the Spanish lines 
is equally profitable for the same reason ; nor shall I 
soon forget winding slowly over the melancholy 
wastes of Macedonia in the Oriental railway, built 
by Baron Hirsch, from the Servian frontier to Uskub. 
That was a little before the advent of the Young 
Turks. A dangerous journey in a tar-boat down the 
rapids of the Ulea, the great timber river of Finland, 
walks in Sofia and Belgrade and Salonica and 
Constantinople, a visit to Washington's home on the 



FOREIGN TRAVEL 



239 



Potomac, the view from Pentelicus of Athens and 
Salamis and Aegina, the view of Moscow from 
Ivan's Tower, are a few gems in the priceless 
collection of a modern traveller. 

At least half the pleasure, and more than half the 
moral profit, of travel is lost through ignorance of the 
language of the country. And this ignorance is often 
inexcusable, a consequence of the dull, lazy, and 
almost brutish manner in which too many people 
consume their leisure. To acquire a language 
thoroughly, to master its literature, is no doubt a 
difficult if delightful task ; but there is no reason 
why any intelligent person with some means and a 
little leisure should not gain enough of French, 
German, Spanish, Italian, or Scandinavian to enable 
him to read the newspapers and "get along" in 
conversation with the natives. Russian, indeed, and 
the other Slav languages present more formidable 
obstacles ; but French and German will smooth the 
way through most cities of Eastern and South 
Eastern Europe. What, indeed, contributes more to 
the magnificent isolation of Englishmen than our in- 
difference to the languages of the Continent ? If we 
read more for ourselves we should be a less easy prey 
to the panics and jealousies which a malevolent 
journalism seeks to promote. If we really knew the 
virtues and vices, the aspirations and foibles, the 
great qualities and the small failings of other nations 



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FOREIGN TRAVEL 



we should be better men and better citizens. The 
globe-trotter who returns home more boastful and 
hardly less ignorant than before is a poor advertise- 
ment of the tourist agencies. But, happily, there are 
other and better types, whose sober patriotism is 
strengthened by broadened sympathies. The study 
of modern languages is certainly extending. People 
who travel are beginning to see that a little prelimi- 
nary study may greatly increase their pleasures and 
incidentally diminish the expenses of their journeys. 
Even legislators are watching with more and more 
interest the social progress of other countries. In- 
vention knows no local boundaries. With all its 
defects travel remains a civilizing and liberalizing 
agency, from which the inhabitants of the world are 
learning to be wiser than their prejudices, braver than 
their soldiers, and broader than their boundaries. 



A PLEA FOR GARDENS 

Parvis Epicurus in Hortis 

POOR men are inarticulate. It is the main 
business of representative institutions, local 
and national, to find out the wants of the poor and to 
supply them. An obvious, and, I am afraid, in 
democracies a popular, plan is to help them at the 
expense of those who are better off, on the plea that 
"wealth is crime enough to him that's poor." A 
better way is to enable them to help themselves, to 
give them opportunities at present denied them by 
law or by those who own the soil. Now there is, I am 
persuaded, a cure for one of our worst economic and 
social evils ; and it is a cure which will add very 
greatly to the national wealth. It will not enrich one 
class at the expense of another ; but it will increase 
the total product and enlarge the national dividend. 
It will be a source of health and wealth to tens of 
thousands of poor families, and it will teach the chil- 
dren a most valuable kind of knowledge — the know- 
ledge of gardening, which is the beginning and end 
& 241 



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A PLEA FOR GARDENS 



of agriculture. But a cure implies an evil. What is 
that evil ? It is the lack of gardens in many villages 
and in the suburbs of towns. What is the cure ? It 
is to supply this want without impoverishing the 
owners, but without enriching them at the expense of 
their poorer neighbours. But how and why has this 
grievance arisen ? Why are there so many cottages 
without gardens, or with gardens too small to supply 
vegetables, fruit, and potatoes, in the midst of green 
fields ? Was there not an Act passed in the reign of 
Queen Elizabeth providing that every cottage should 
have a good piece of land ? True, but it became a 
dead letter. Yet, even so, natural causes would have 
multiplied gardens if social reasons and the land laws 
had not stood in the way. The causes are various. 
Sometimes it is settled policy. The landlord knows 
that farmers often object to their labourers having 
large gardens for fear they should work less or become 
too independent. Often it is merely " economy " of 
space. The builder of cottages uses as little land as 
possible in order to extract the greatest possible 
amount of house rent from the smallest possible 
amount of ground. It is the cruellest and stupidest 
and least economical of all imaginable economies. 
No builder or architect would attempt such a thing 
in the case of domestic animals. Years ago, in some 
parts of England, cottages used to be built on roadside 
wastes, t,e,, on public land, and then as opportunity 



A PLEA FOR GARDENS 



243 



served they were generally seized by the lord of the 
manor or the adjoining owner. In such cases there 
can practically be no garden unless the owner of the 
field adjoining the road allows it. 

I was disgusted the other day, in a prosperous dis- 
trict of the West Riding, where public-spirited men 
have erected libraries and institutes for the factory 
hands, to find that even new cottages are still, as a 
rule, gardenless or with only a tiny patch. In the 
South of England many villages could be pointed out 
where this artificial scarcity of cottage gardens exists. 
I wish some good-hearted courtier or Minister could 
see a row of gardenless cottages adjoining a paddock 
of Richmond Park. For fifty years these poor people 
have looked wistfully upon the green field and longed 
for a strip of it at their back-door. If the Ranger had 
lived in one of these cottages for one week the need 
would have been seen and recognized. But I am 
thinking especially of a series of factory villages not 
very far from Bradford. There is plenty of pasture- 
land, good and bad, running up from the valleys to the 
moors, letting at from los. to £2 an acre, and selling, 
perhaps, freehold at from ;^io to £^0 per acre unless 
it is suspected that it may he used for building land, 
in which case the price demanded may be multiplied 
by ten. In this neighbourhood I saw a row of twenty 
or thirty cottages with tiny gardens of two or three 
yards square, subtended by a field of one acre which 



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A PLEA FOR GARDENS 




had just yielded a hay crop. I am certain that it would 
not pay any farmer to give more than £2 an acre 
rent for the field. Possibly the owner, who lives near, 
thinks it looks nicer as a field than as gardens. But 
look at the economy. Let each of those twenty 
working men have one-twentieth of the field — 
t^,f let each garden be ten times its present length. 
Let the subdivided acre be cultivated intensively by 
the spade. Think of the supply of potatoes and 
vegetables that would be raised with little or no 
expense. I have no doubt that each cottage 
would get a supply of health in the shape of fresh 
vegetables worth a shilling a week in summer ; and 
what a pride and pleasure to the family — what 
hours of useful and healthful recreation for the man 
and his wife and his children ! The rich man who 
owns the field might think of this, for his own grand- 
father doubtless started life in clogs. Suppose, then, 
that this field, which now yields, perhaps, a net profit 
of ;£^i per year, were converted into twenty gardens, 
each yielding a net profit of ;f i a year — for I will 
make a conservative estimate. That is a marvellous 
economic change. A field with a capital value of ;^20 
on its present yield is converted into a field worth 
;^400. Let the owner have £2 a year rent instead of 
£1 profit from the hay, and let the ;^i8 be divided 
annually between the twenty cottagers. If Mr. 
Runciman, who is said to be putting thought and 



A PLEA FOR GARDENS 



245 



business energy into the Board of Agriculture, would 
visit the cottages round about Dewsbury, and look for 
further illustrations, he would probably be inclined to 
agree that in the West Riding alone fifty thousand 
cottages might easily be found which could be provided 
with gardens in this way, if they were allowed to take 
in a bit of pasture or waste land at their very doors. 

All owners of vacant lands that adjoin gardenless 
cottages should take action on their own initiative. 
I know one landlord in Hertfordshire who has done 
so. Every cottage in the country ought to have from 
an eighth to a quarter of an acre of land, and I am 
told that a quarter of an acre (less intensively culti- 
vated than a smaller plot) would be worth two 
shillings a week to any capable labourer with a large 
family.^ Probably there are at least a million poor 
wage-earners who could be provided with one-eighth 
of an acre apiece if there were universal good sense 
and goodwill among owners and occupiers of land. A 
very simple Act of Parliament might be framed to 
meet those cases where intelligence and goodwill do 
not exist. It might be provided, for instance, that 
wherever a cottage or small house abuts on a field the 
cottager shall be entitled to take in so much of the 
field adjoining his cottage as will make up his garden 
to one-eighth (or one-quarter) of an acre on paying a 

* A quarter of an acre garden for every labourer was part 
of Cobbett's plan. See his " Cottage Economy." 



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A PLEA FOR GARDENS 




rent, say, one-quarter more than that which the tenant 
is paying for the said field, or (where the occupier is 
the owner) one-quarter more than a hypothetical 
tenant would give for the field for its existing use. 
If such an Act were passed it is not fanciful to sup- 
pose that the incomes of at least a million poor families 
would be increased by at least a shilling a week, and 
the annual income of the country by about 2J 
millions a year. But this does not allow for the 
immense benefits to the health which must accrue 
from the creation of a multitude of new gardens. 
The provision of gardens touches the many, and a 
garden at hand is worth an allotment double the size 
at a distance. The small holdings movement has done 
good, but it can never touch one-tenth of the people 
to whom a large garden makes an immediate appeal. 
England after all is the land of gardens as well 
as of factories. And the fame of the English 
garden is older than the fame of the English 
factory. Bacon required not less than thirty acres 
for one of his " prince-like " gardens. That area 
would give us at least 120 cottage gardens. If then, 
as Bacon declares, gardening is "the purest of 
human pleasures " and " the greatest refreshment 
to the spirits of man," and if again this economic 
argument be sound, there can surely be no more 
noble or profitable pursuit for landowner or states- 
pian than to enlarge the supply of cottage gardens. 



PRIVATE LUXURY AND PUBLIC WASTE 

ALTHOUGH Thrift still opens with her golden 
key the palace of independence, this Roman 
goddess, who forms with Industry and Diligence 
a Ciceronic triumvirate of economic virtues, is, alas ! 
no longer worshipped even in our schools and 
universities, much less in Parliament and the public 
offices. We live in a country and in an age given 
over to public and private luxury. For Wealth, 
the child of Thrift, is the mother of Extravagance. 
Habits of profusion among the rich have created 
false standards of comfort. Costly pleasures are 
preferred. We seek the superfluous. A vulgar and 
insolent ostentation annoys the eye at every 
turn. To be economical is to be penurious. To 
save is to be mean. To live within your income 
is almost a reproach. And those who follow the 
fashion are soothed by a new doctrine into the 
comfortable belief that a generous scale of living 
is good for trade, that it stimulates employment 
and circulates money. 

«47 



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PRIVATE LUXURY 




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|i*i 



But Public and Private Waste are no novelties. 
They are as old as civilization itself; and though they 
caused the decline and fall of mighty empires and 
ancient families, I shall not join the croaking com- 
pany that bemoans the decadence of England, or 
anticipates a general downfall of Anglo-Saxondom. 
Our prophets of evil generally have an axe to 
grind ; some conjure up national perils on behalf 
of tariff reform, others in the hope of promoting 
an expansion of armaments. It is for the second 
of these that the German and Japanese bogeys are 
paraded before the British and American publics. 
But again I am no pessimist. It would have been 
rash, perhaps, at the beginning of 1909 to ask any 
considerable body of well-to-do Englishmen to 
listen patiently to a lecture on the virtues of naval 
economy. Dreadnoughts were still the rage. " We 
want eight, we won't wait," was the refrain— -until 
we got them. But Mr. Lloyd George's Budget 
with its complement of taxes and super-taxes has 
borne into every wealthy household another mes- 
sage. It has interpreted the pleasures of national 
expenditure in the terms of individual taxation. 
Dives is in pain. CrcEsus is counting his treasures. 
Rhampsinitus has discovered the leakage. Warn- 
ings that fell on deaf ears are now listened to with 
attention. Once more the tax-gatherer, as Lord 
Morley said during the South African War, is 



PRIVATE LUXURY 



249 



proving himself the true schoolmaster. Max intelli- 
gent homines quam magnum vectigal sit parsimonta. 
Public and Private Waste are essentially the same. 
But their causes and consequences deserve separate 
analysis; and those who practise the second may 
be persuaded to combine against the first. By 
Waste in general one means, of course, useless or 
destructive expenditure. We must not be too 
strict or pedantic about our definition. That would 
only lend aid to cavil and casuistry. Better to 
hold by the substance and let others play with the 
shadow. I know that every kind of enjoyment 
can be represented as waste. The chief object, it 
may be said, of working for a larger income is that 
we may raise our standard of comfort, and waste 
a little more. Mark Pattison's dictum that a man 
should spend 10 per cent, of his income on books 
would in many cases clearly involve economic waste. 
He meant of course a man of taste and intelligence. 
Neither a State nor an individual could submit to 
a rule that all expenditure should be upon bare 
necessities, or upon objects that are directly and 
in the economic sense productive. Poetry and philo- 
sophy, the sciences, literature, and the arts cannot 
be brought within a narrow formula of this kind. 
But we need not be turned from our purpose by 
verbal stumbling-blocks. Waste is a large province, 
though it has indeterminate and shadowy borders. 



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PRIVATE LUXURY 



Many things which one wise man would consider 
to be waste, another equally wise would regard as 
legitimate expenditure. But there is a vast amount 
of waste about which all men of sense are agreed. 
This, if we may borrow our terminology from 
international law, may be described as the province 
of "absolute waste"; the rest is "conditional 
waste," depending upon time, circumstance, and 
opinion. Absolute waste we all know when we 
see it, as when men overdrink, or women over- 
dress, or nations fight about nothing. 

Besides the absolute waste, which consists in 
spending money on wrong objects, there is another 
kind, which arises not in the object but in the 
method of attaining it, not in the end but in the 
means. Thus the Admiralty or W^r Office may 
not only waste money upon a wrong kind (or an 
excessive number) of guns or ships ; they may 
also adopt wrong methods of construction ; they 
may make an improvident contract. In such cases 
every one would agree that there is waste, whether 
the guns and ships are wanted or not. Again, a 
local authority may waste money not only by 
laying an unnecessary line of trams, but also by 
laying a necessary line on a wrong principle, or 
at an excessive cost. It may build a lunatic 
asylum, or workhouse, where it is not required, or 
on too palatial a plan, or with fittings needlessly 



PRIVATE LUXURY 



251 



luxurious. I heard the other day of porcelain 
baths, with the finest brass fittings, being placed 
at a cost of £13 a piece into a home for poor 
children belonging to a great local authority. The 
official was quite indignant when the committee 
ventured to remonstrate. And yet he would never 
have dreamed of embarking on such extravagance 
in his own home. Almost every one who has to 
do with the administration of public money seems 
to treat the public purse as inexhaustible. The 
pettiest clerk in the Civil Service demands an office 
worthy of a city magnate. 

That public waste exists and tends to grow, as 
legislation gives more and more work to public 
bodies, no one denies. But while all recognize the 
evil and grumble more and more as rates and 
taxes rise, there is not much sign of an intelligent 
and concerted search for remedies. What is every- 
body's business is nobody's business. The noisy 
clamour of the individuals, who profit by public 
expenditure, is apt to drown the mild remonstrances 
of the community, which only has to pay the bill. 
A sensational Press is glad to ventilate any 
financial scandal which is likely to injure the other 
party in national or local politics ; but unhappily 
there are at present few journalists with the time 
or the capacity to educate the public in economical 
reform. By constant criticism and eternal vigilance, 



i 



' '^11 



• 



M\ 



t 



252 



PRIVATE LUXURY 



— independent, impartial, and discerning — the great 
newspapers might help to save milhons of public 
money. Alas ! their influence is generally on the 
wrong side. A very large section of the British 
Press, including all the Unionist newspapers of 
London, has been engaged for some years past in 
endeavouring to promote a further expansion of 
armaments, including a scheme of conscription, 
without any reference to financial considerations ; 
and what is called social expenditure is handled 
in very much the same way by most Radical 
newspapers. The Minority Report on the Poor 
Law contained innumerable recommendations, 
nearly all of which would add to the burdens falling 
upon the rates and taxes. But the vital question 
of finance was hardly touched upon either by the 
members of the Commission or their critics. 

Failing the Press, which, after all, is only an 
indirect force — a stimulus to the prodigality of the 
prodigal or to the frugality of the frugal — there 
are the Government and the House of Commons, 
the Treasury, the Comptroller and Auditor- 
General, who all are, or might be, checks upon 
extravagance. It is to the first and the second 
that we must look for the inauguration of any large 
scheme of economical reform. In so far as waste 
depends upon policy it depends with us upon 
Ministers (collectively or individually) and the 



PRIVATE LUXURY 



253 



House of Commons, just as in the United States 
it depends upon the President and Congress. But 
when the atmosphere of public opinion is favourable, 
the Treasury, if it has a strong Chancellor and 
Secretary, may save much by careful pruning of 
estimates ; and the Comptroller and Auditor-General, 
if he were a person of the vigour and independence 
desired by Mr. Gladstone (who begged Mr. Cobden 
to accept the position) might also do a great deal 
for economy. When Mr. T. G. Bowles was a 
member of the Public Accounts Committee of the 
House of Commons that body exerted some in- 
fluence and excited some fear. But the mode of 
selection makes it almost impotent in ordinary 
times. Probably a standing commission of com- 
petent and public-spirited men with wide powers 
of criticism, acting without fear or favour, could 
save hundreds of thousands if not millions of tax- 
payers' money. Something may ultimately be 
achieved by the new Estimates Committee. A 
similar service might be rendered to ratepayers by 
the Local Government Board if its auditors could 
be instructed, invigorated, and clothed with ampler 
powers. One hears that a publicity bureau is doing 
admirable work in examining the municipal budgets 
of some American cities. 

Nothing is more hopeful or admirable in our 
political life than the growing determination to 



I ' 



,1 



1 



^ 



254 



PRIVATE LUXURY 



grapple with hard problems of crime, intemperance, 
poverty, and unemployment. But just as philanthropy 
without common sense does more harm than good, 
so the projects of a sentimental socialism, unless they 
are worked out with a stern eye to economic facts 
and financial consequences, are bound to come to 
grief To proceed with social reforms regardless of 
expense, as though the public purse were bottomless 
and the taxable capacity of the people unlimited, can 
only lead to grave trouble. In the military and naval 
sphere a different set of considerations apply. The 
whole expenditure is economically sterilizing and 
mischievous. But in the present state of the world 
enough must be spent to ensure a reasonable margin 
of security. To this practically every sane man will 
agree, as well as to the further proposition that the 
expansion of armaments cannot and should not go 
on indefinitely. A bankrupt nation is formidable 
neither in peace nor in war. The mania for war 
expenditure in time of peace offends not only against 
common sense but against all the maxims and 
traditions of British Statesmen from Pitt and Fox 
to Disraeli and Gladstone. Everything in Europe 
points to the urgency of an international agreement, 
with a view to the restriction of armaments. But the 
path of prudence is barred by two great professions 
and many powerful trades. 
A favourite defence of both public and private 



PRIVATE LUXURY 



255 



waste is that they give employment ; and though 
often used by clever politicians who know better, the 
fallacy is superficially so attractive and so engaging 
at first sight that it deserves exposure. As it arises 
perhaps most frequently in connection with Govern- 
ment employment in the barracks and the dockyards, 
let me illustrate its meaning by tracing the conse- 
quences of recruiting or disbanding troops. The 
argument, it must be understood, is purely economic. 
The question of national security is ruled out. If the 
taxpayers feel insecure they can have more troops or 
battleships. But let them understand that they are 
buying the enjoyment of additional security at a 
sacrifice of capital or income. This is a strong 
reason for direct taxation. If our sugar and tea 
duties were removed, and the sum required were 
obtained by reducing the limit of exemption from 
income tax, which is now £160, to £iQO, or lower 
still, as in Prussia, very beneficial results would 
ensue. The pressure of naval and military experts, 
and of the sensational panic-monger, would be 
counteracted by a mpre general determination on 
the part of the public to resist extravagance. One 
good example of a practicable saving is that of the 
troops which we maintain in South Africa. The 
South African Union has placed South Africa in 
the same position as Canada and Australia and New 
Zealand, all of which provide for their own military 



\r 



n 



m 






256 



PRIVATE LUXURY 



defence. But a British garrison of 10,000 men has 
been retained in South Africa at a cost of a million 
a year to the home taxpayers, and a large number of 
unnecessary recruits have been bribed to leave useful 
employment in consequence of this South African 
drain. Meanwhile the shopkeepers of Pretoria were 
well satisfied that British soldiers should be supported 
there by the long purse of the British taxpayer. I 
am glad to say that at last a beginning is being 
made, and the garrison will be considerably reduced 
by the end of 191 3. But the War Office has kept 
the money ! 

What exactly happens when the War Office in- 
duces the Cabinet to sanction a force of regulars 
larger by 10,000 men than is required for the defence 
of the country ? Each superfluous man so recruited 
costs the taxpayer about ;tioo a year, all told, of 
which a small fraction only is for pay. Thus a 
million of money is withdrawn from private circula- 
tion into public circulation. If the 10,000 men 
recruited are "employables" doing regular and 
useful work, the wealth which they would have 
produced is all lost. The 10,000 would have 
performed some 3,000,000 days of productive labour 
every year. Instead of that they are being drilled 
and marched about at the public expense. They 
are wearing out public clothes and public arms, 
travelling in railways and ships with tickets paid 



PRIVATE LUXURY 



257 



for by the War Office, and firing away public 
ammunition. They were labourers in the field and 
factory, able to support wives and children and to 
contribute to the public revenue. Now they are 
unable to do either. They turn to the right about 
and the left about ; they are soldiers. And when 
they leave the army they are ill-fitted for civil 
occupations. In times of peace the way to reduce 
superfluous establishments is to recruit on a smaller 
scale. Nor need the disbandment of men cause 
unemployment, because (as Bastiat made clear) at 
the very time when you throw the men on to the 
market you throw into the market, by a release of 
taxes, an amount of money sufficient to employ in 
useful and profitable occupations double the number. 
When you have men superfluously employed in 
the service of private luxury, the economic waste is, 
I think, strictly comparable ; and a tax falling upon 
this sort of wasteful expenditure is perhaps the best 
that can be devised, assuming of course that it is 
feasible and not too costly to collect. Let me illus- 
trate the point by an imaginary but not impossible 
example. We will assume that after inquiry the 
Chancellor of the Exchequer discovers 500 rich men 
in the kingdom who keep about ten flunkeys apiece. 
Each flunkey costs his master on an average jf 100 a 
year, just about what a soldier costs Ats master — the 
State. Thus you have 500 wealthy men keeping an 



i 



) 




258 



PRIVATE LUXURY 



army of 5,000 men-servants at a cost of £500,000 
a year. Thereupon the Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
being in need of money, includes in his Budget a 
special tax of ;f 100 per man-servant on the Five 
Hundred. The Five Hundred being unwilling to 
pay more out of their incomes for men-servants than 
they did before, reduce their staffs from ten to five. 
Instead of paying ;f500,ooo for 5,000, they pay 
the same sum in two parts, half in wages to 2,500 
servants and half in taxes to the national exchequer. 
If the State lays out the new revenue on useful 
works, employing men to improve roads or canals 
or to afforest waste lands, then the nation is better 
off than it was before the tax. The money which 
employed a corps of 2,500 flunkeys now employs the 
same number of useful labourers. If, however, the 
Secretary for War rather than the President of the 
Board of Trade, or Local Government, or Agriculture 
gets the ear of the Cabinet, the money may be used 
to add 2,500 men to the army. Then from an 
economic point of view things are neither better 
nor worse, the soldier like the flunkey being a mere 
consumer of wealth. Instead of paying for 2,500 
flunkeys, the 500 rich men are paying for 2,500 
soldiers. If such a tax were imposed one would like 
to see the comments of the Daily Telegraph, the 
Morning Post, and the Daily Mail. Would the pen 
of the militarist who demands a larger army, or of 



PRIVATE LUXURY 



259 



the Conservative who denounces confiscatory taxes, 
be most likely to be employed ? Perhaps it would 
depend on the all-important question — which Govern- 
ment happened to be in office ! There was reason in 
Mr. Birrell's complaint that the journalist, who might 
well be, if not indifferent to, at least independent of 
party, is apt to follow it with undeviating servility. 



. 






INDEX 




Aberdeen, Lord, i6,i75 
Ackworth, 173 
Admirals and panics, 46, 51 
Admiralty, Board of, 48, 50» 5^, 59. 

61,63,64,65,72, 86, 114, 127, 

128, 248 
Admiralty, First Lord of, 21, 45. 

55. 79, 89. 102 
Adrianople, storm of, 137 
Adullam, Cave of, 194 
Advertisements and the Press, 143, 

147 

Adye, Sir John, 52 

Aegina, 239 

Aerial Navigation Act, 104 

Aeroplane purchases by British 

Government, 107 
Afghan boundary, 42 
Afghanistan, 160 
Agamemnon, the, 66 
Agram, 238 
Agriculture in Balkans, ruined by 

war, 140 
Airship contractors, 107 
Airships, 68, 103-18, 227, 230 
Airship panic, 103-18, 152 
Alabama, the, 129 
Albert Hall meeting, 211 



Alexandria, bombardment of, 188 

Alliance, French, 18, 30 

Alva, 122 

Amalgamation of newspapers, 146 

America, 4-6, 66, 121, 204-5, 213, 

226 
America, Civil War in, 183, 189 
American Tariff, 205, 213 
Anglo-German friendship, 100, 132 
Anntial Register^ the, 53, 67 
Answers^ 145 

Anti-Corn Law League, I7^7 
Antwerp, Mr. Van, 5 
Argentine, 223 
Arkwright, 222 
Armaments, 6, 34. 39. 42. 54. 5<^ 

57, 94, 139, 141. 248 
Armaments, Burden of, 42 
Armaments, international reduction 
' of, 39, 64, 133 
Armaments and Patriotism^ 72 
Armourplate, 27, 37 
"Armourplate Interests," 42, 48, 

57, 60 foil., 63, 66, 72, 73. 86, 

94, 95, 96, 154 
Armstrong, Whitworth & Co., 62 

Army Estimates, 38 

Arnold Forster, Mr., 47 



a6x 



362 



THE SIX PANICS 



S' 



Arrow ^ the Lorcha, i8o 

Ascension Island, 51 

Asquith, Mr. 66 ; 76 ; 96 ; Parlia- 
mentary speeches on Dreadnought 
question, 82-6, 88 

Athenians, i 

Athens, 223, 238 

Attorney-General, 166 

Australia, 231, 255 

Austria, French war with, 2 ; 
mobilisation in, 133, 141 ; in 
early nineteenth century, 203, 206 

Authority of newspapers, 147-64 

Avebury, Lofd, and capture at sea, 

132 
Ayr, 224 

Bacon, Lord, 236-7, 246 

Baedeker, 236 

Bagehot, Walter, 4, 6 

Balfour, Mr., 56, 58, 62, 64, 85, 97, 
icx), 118, 202 ; speeches on Dread- 
nought question, 65, 74-82, 87, 
90 ; on insular free trade, 210-21 

Balkan War, 3, 100, 132-41, 233 

Baltic, 21 

Bankers, 17 

Bastiat, 200, 257 

Bavaria, 203, 207 

Beaconsfield, Lord (Disraeli), 16, 
24 ; 44, 88, 160, 169, 175, 182-4, 
194, 195, 254 

Beckerdyke, Mr., and ''airship," 105 

Beerbohm, Max, 48 

Belgrade, 233, 238 

Bellairs, Mr., 88 

Benthamand the Manchester School, 
184 



Bentinck, Mr., 31 

Beresford, Lord Charles, 1 1 

Berkeley, Admiral, 14 

Bermuda, 232 

Besika Bay, 15 

Bicycle, 228 

Birmingham, 161, 186, 188, SI I, 
214, 215 

Birmingham Post^ 161 

Birrell, Mr., 259 

Black Sea, 21 

Blatchford, Mr., 66 

Boer War, 2, 54, 58 

Bombay, 50 

Bonaparte, 15 

Booth, General, 2 

Booth, Mrs., 195 

Bowles, Mr. T. G., 253 

Bradford, 244 

Bradford Observer^ 162 

Bradlaugh controversy, 160 

Brassey, Sir Thomas, 46 

Brazil and Warships, 49, 57 

Brentano, Professor, 132 

Bridlington, 106 

Briggs, Sir John Henry, 45, 46 

Bright, Abraham, 143 

Bright, Jacob, 173 

Bright, John, 2, 6, 24, 38, 161 ; his 
place in politics and sketch of his 
life, 171 ; quotations from, 176, 
177, 183, 187, 190, 194, I9S-7 

British Columbia, 232 

Brougham, Lord, 33, 169; and 
capture at sea, 132-93 

Budget, of 1848, 9; of 1853 
(Disraeli), 16 ; of 1909, 93-4 

Buenos Ayres, 72 



INDEX 



263 



BUlow, Prince von, 93, 146 
Bulgaria, sufferings in war, 135-40 J 

losses of soldiers, 137 
Bulgarian Government, txpoU on 

the war, 134 
Burden of Armaments ^ The, Ai^ 
Busk {The Navies of the World), 

29 
Burke, 169, 189 
Byron, 193 

California, 232 
Campbell-Bannerman, Sir Henry, 

44, 59, 64, 65, 82, 163 
Camperdown, 33 
Canada, 233, 255 
Canals, 226 
Canary Isles, 232 
Canning, 169 
Cape, the, 50 

Capture, right of, in wartime, 49» 60, 
93» 119-32; British attitude to, 
125 ; influence on foreign naval 
policy, 1 30- 1 
Card well's army reforms, 41 
Carnarvon, Lord, 196 
Carniola, 238 

Carson, Sir Edward, 165-6 
Catholic Emancipation, 169 
Cawdor, Lord, 62 
Chambers of Commerce, and Cap- 
ture, 132 
Chamberlain, Mr. Austen, 165-6 
Chamberlam, Mr. Joseph, 56, 161, 

169, 192. 21I, 213, 217 
Chancellor of Exchequer, 52, 55, 

103, 258 
Changarnier, General, 16 



Channel, the, and invasion, 8, 13* 

22, 27, 33 
Chauvinism, 59 
Cherbourg, 13, 23 
Chikiers, Mr., 52 
Chili, and warships, 49 
China, war with, 27, 180; and 

armaments, 57 
Church Fenton, 105 
Church rates, 174 
Churchill, Lord Randolph, 55, 91, 

103, 168 
Churchill, Mr. Winston, 66, 70, 76, 

91, 98, 103, 127, 165 
Circumlocution by journalists, 148-50 
City, the, 17 ; and journalism, 147 
Clarion, 66 
Claudian, 234-5 
Clubs, London, 14 
Coal, exports of, 218, 220 
Cobbett, 193 ; compared with List, 

201-2 
Cobden, 6, 10, 13, 25, 29, 34, 36, 
38, 170, 174-81, 184, 188, 193, 
198, 200, 203, 253; quotations 
from, 9, II, 15, 16, 18,22, 27,31, 
33 ; and capture and sea, 1 32 
Coercion Bill, 161 
Colonial Preference, 214 
Commerce and War, 60, 65 
Commercial Treaty of i860, 36-7 
Compromise (Morley), 156 
Comptroller and Auditor-General, 

252 
Compulsory military service, 62 

{see also Conscription) 
Concert of Europe, and the Balkans, 
141 



264 



THE SIX PANICS 



I 



Confidence Trick, 16 

Congo, 122 

Conscription, inBulgaria and Turkey, 

134 
Conservatives, 94, 160, 210, 214 
Consistency, in politics, 37, 165-70 
Constantinople, 238 
•* Construction, speed of," 68, 76 

foil., 97 
Corn Laws, 168, 172, 177, 188, 193, 

196 
Cowen, Joseph, 160 
Creasor, Mr., 105 
Creusot, 137, 138 
Credit, instability of, 5 
Crimean War, 18, 20, 21, 26, 178-9, 

186, 189 
Croesus, 248 
Cronstadt, 23 
Croydon election, 93 

Daily Mail ^^%66t 103-6, 114, 1 18, 

146, 211, 258 
Daily Mirror^ 146 
Daily News, 72, 75, 145 
Daily Telegraph, 52, 211, 258 
Debt, Turkish, 135 
Denmark, 203, 206 
Defenceless State of the Nation (Sir 

F. Head), 11 
Derby, Earl of, 12, 13, 20, 27, 32, 

169, I7S 
De Quincey, on journalese, 147-9 
Devonshire, Duke of, 161 
Dewsbury, 245 
Dilke, SirCharies, 88, 94 
Dirigible Airships, 106 (see also 

Zeppelin) f 



Disestablishment, 188 

Disraeli (see Beaconsfield) 

Dives, 248 

Dockyard expenditure, 61 

Don Pacifico, 175 

Drama (city), 135 

Dreadnoughts, 59 foil., 66, 71 foil., 

76 foil., 82 foil., 94, 96, 103, 248 
Dreadnought table, 82, 89 
Dundee Advertiser, 113 
Durham, 160 
Dynamics of trade (Mr. Balfour on), 

216 

Economist^ 95, 138 

Economy, public, 24, 38-9, 41, 51, 

58. 63-S, 67, 69, 178, 247-54 
Edinburgh, 224, 23I; 
Egypt, 42, 161 
Eldon, Lord Chancellor, 169 
Elections, General, 32, 58, 94, 161, 

180 
Electricity and transport, 227 
Ellenborough, Lord, 32 
England, invasion of 2, 8, 12, 14, 

16 
Englishman's Home, The, 67 
Erasmus, 133 
Evening Standard^ 145- 
Eversley, Lord, on Cobdcn, 38; on 

naval policy, 42 
Expenditure, Naval and Military, 
2, 4, 6, 26, 30, 36, 44. 51. 53. 54. 
56, 60, 63, 67, 93, 102 
Expenditure (tables), 63 
Exports, statistics of, 215-20 
Extravagance, Public, 147-57 (see 
also Expenditure) 



INDEX 



26s 



Fair Trade, 166, 169 

Fawcett, 194 

Feltham, 235 

Fiji, 50 

Finance and war, 57-8 

Finland, 238 

Fire balloons (and airship panic), 

106, 116 
Fisher, Lord (Sir John), 62, 67 
Foreign Office, 20, 59, 65, 128 
Foreign telegrams, in the Press, 

150-4 
Foreign Travel, Advantages of, 331- 

40 
Forster, Arnold, 47 
Fortifications, loan for, 39 
Fox, W.J., 180 

France, 17, 32. 65, 133, 141, 183 
Franco-German War, 41^ 
Free Trade, 166, 168, 178, 191,202, 

204-8, 210-21 
Free Trade and the Manchester 

School, 184 
French alliance, 18 
French army at Rome, 16 
French Chamber, debate in, 53 
French invasion fear, 8-10, 12 foil., 

32, 33 
French Revolution, 169 

Flying (see Airships) 

Gardens, a Plea for, 241-6 

Garth, Richard, attack on Bright, 

197 
Geese, mistaken for airship, 113 
German airships (alleged), 104 
German delegates at Hague Con- 
ference, 131 



German Emperor, 133 

German Government, 96, 116 

German invasion, 2, 152, 248 

Germany, 3, 66-7, 82 foil., 9U I2i, 
132, 141, I74» 202-9, 248 

Gibson, Milner, 180 

Gladstone, Life of (Mor\€!y)f 3^-9 

Gladstone, W. E., 2, 6, 25, 32, 36, 
38, 44, 53-4. 56, 160-2, 165, 169, 
171, 181-3, 188, 192, 200, 253 

Goulburn, 200 

Grant Duff, 194 

Green, Thomas Hill, 185-7 

Grey, Lord, 169 

Grey, Sir Edward, 93, i53 

Guildhall meeting, lOO 

Gulliver, 158 

Hague Conference, 64-5; main- 
tains right of capture, 128, 131 
Hamilton, Lord George, 55, 56 
Handloom weavers, 226 
Harcourt, Mr. Robert, 97 
Harmsworth, Mr. (Lord Northcliffe), 

145 
Harrow, 174 

Hazlitt, 201, 236 

Head, Sir Francis (on Defenceless 

State of Nation), il 
Heine, satire on ZoUverein, 208 
Herbert, Sidney, at War Office, 38 
Herodotus, i 
Hertfordshire, cottage gardens in, 

245 
Hirsch, Baron, 238 

Holland, 207 

Home Rule, 94, 161-2, 165, 168, 

188, 192 



i 






266 



THE SIX PANICS 



Hong Kong, 50 

Hornsea, airship at, 114 

Horsman, Mr. , panic speech of, 33, 
and Adullamites, 194 

House of Commons, 14, 27, 29, 74, 
93. 9^7i 107, 131. 165, 181, 183, 
186-7, 352 

House of Lords, 32, 4$, S3. 94» 
188, 192, 195-6 ; rejects declara- 
tion of London, 124 

Houyhnhnms, 158 

Howdon, Lord, 32 

Huddersfield, 180, 187 

Hume, David, 156 

Hume, Joseph, on Second Panic, 

14 
Hyndman, Mr., 66 

Illusion^ The Greats 7 

Imperial Defence Committee, 62, 

100 
Imperialism, 59, 160, 169 
Imports, 206, 213 
Income Tax, 9, 14, 38, 53, 130, 175, 

183 

Indemnity, claimed by Bulgaria, 

137 

India, Bright on, 186, 191 

Indian Mutiny, 27 

Infant industries, 205 

Insular Free Trade (Mr. Balfour), 

213-21 
Insurance, marine, and capture at 

sea, 127 
Invasion panics, 8, 13, 22, 32, 33, 

62, 67, 88, 91, 94, 152, 183 
Ireland, 42, 161 
Irish Church, 169, 181 



Irish Land Reform, 190 
Italian nationality, 32 

Japan, and armaments, 57, 65 ; in- 
come tax in, 181 ; as a tourist 
resort, 232 v 

Jingoes, 2, 92, 160, 169, 178, 180, 
182 

Johnson, Dr., i, 156 

Joint-stock shipping companies, and 
capture, 128 

Jokes, in cheap journals, 145 

Jowett, 185 

Juvenal, 193 

Kashmir, 232 

Kirkwall, 113 

Krupp, 65, 72, 96, 137, 138 

Kufstein, 199 

Labour and militarism, 87 
La Gloire^ 35 
Lansdowne, Lord, 210-11 
Law, Mr. Bonar, 210-12, 219 
Leamington, 176 
Leeds Mercury <^ 162 
Lennox, Lord Henry, 47 
Lewis, G. Comewall,_i56, 158 
Liberal, defined by Mr. Churchill, 

92 
Liberals, 160, 163 
Liberalism and the Social Problem 

(Churchill), 92 
Liberty Q. S. Mill), 156 
Libyan, 155 
List, Friedrich, 199-209 
Liverpool, " airships " seen at, 1 14 
Liverpool, 236 



INDEX 



367 



Liverpool Courier^ 211 

Lloyd George, Mr., 66, 248 

Local Government Board, 258 

London, 224 

London, Declaration of, 123 

" Longhand " style, 148-50 

Lord Nelson^ the, 66 

Lords (see House of Lords) 

Loreburn, Lord, on capture at sea, 

125, 132 
Louis Napoleon [see also Napoleon 

III), II. 15 
Louis Philippe, 10, ii 
Lucan, 193 
Luxury, 247-59 

Macadam, John Loudon, 224 

Macaulay, 172, 195 

Macedonia, sufferings in the war, 

135-40 
Machinery, exports of, 217-20 
McKenna, Mr., 66, 69, 76, 77. 82, 

96 

Maine, Sir Henty, and capture at 

sea, 132 
Majuba, 195 
Malmesbury, Lord, 15 
Manchester, 91, 175-6 
Manchester Guardian^ 144, 162-3 
Manchester School, 24, 87, 171, 

178-84 
Manchuria, 253 

Mansion House meeting, 92, 118 
Marathon, i 
Massingham, Mr., 95 
Mauritius, 60 
Mayfiy (dirigible), 68 
Mechanisierungi 222 



Memel, 205 

Merchantmen, arming of, 127, 129 

Militia Bill, 13,14. IS 

Mill, J. S., 156, 184 

Ntines, floating, discussed at Hague 

Conference, 131 
Montenegrins and the Balkan War, 

141 
Morley, Lord, 38, 45. 66, 132. 151. 

156-7. 179. 184, 248 
Morning Leader^ 145 
Morning Post^ 258 
Morocco Crisis, 3 
Motor-cars, 228-30 
Mulliner, Mr., 66, 72. 75 
Napier, Admiral, 11, 21, 22, 27 
Napier, General, on plunder, 120 
Napier, Messrs. (shipbuilders), 16 
Napoleon I, 172 

Napoleon III {see also Louis 
Napoleon), 11, 15, i7f 27. 32t 
182 
National Liberal Federation, lOO 
National Liberal Club, i6s 
Nation, the, 9S, 98 
Naval Administration (Briggs), 45 
Naval Defence Act (1889), 55 
Naval increases (English), 15, 21S 
Naval Intelligence Department, 96, 

99, 104 
Naval oflicers and panics, so 
Naval Statistics : Austria, lOi 
Naval Statistics — 
England, 14, 21, 28, 30, 34, 36, 
45. 55. 57-8. 62, 64, 71-4. 76-9. 
82, 90, 9S, loi 
France, 12, 14, I7. 21, 28, 30,34, 
36.45.49,53.55.57-8.62,64 



II 



268 



THE SIX PANICS 



Naval Statistics {contd.) — 

Germany, 49, 58, 62, 64, 7i-4i 
76-9, 82, 90, 93, 9S» 10" 

Italy, 49 

Russia, 41, 49. 57-8, 62 
Navies of the World (Busk), 29 
Navy Estimates, 31 » 36. 41 » 49» 55. 

63. 64, 65, 67, 88, 127 
Navy League Annual ^ 90, 97, 98 
Navy League meeting, 100, 118 
Navy and prize money, 119 
Navy, Truth about the, 47 
Nelson, 120 
Nettleship, 185 

Newcastle Daily Chronicle y 160 
Newspapers [su also Press), 12, 14, 

230 ; influence of, 142-64 
Newt<m-in-Bowland, 173 
New York, 223, 226 
New Zealand, 255 
Nile, Battle of the, 33 
Northbrook, Lord, 45, 46, 53 
NorthclifTe, Lord, 211 
North Sea, 80 
Norwich merchants and piracy in 

1526, 123 

Observer^ the, 51 

Old Age Pensions, 94 

Opinion, 158 ; see also Authority, 

Newspapers, Press 
Orcadia (steamer), 113 
Orkneys, "airship" seen off, 113 
Overend, Gumey & Co., 4 
Oxford, Bright at, 185-7 

Paget, Lord Clarence, 27, 31, 36, 38 
Paine, Thomas, 201 



Pakington, Sir John, 28, 31 

Pall Mall GaaetU, 41, 44. 46, 49» 

53. 151 
Palmerston, Lord, 8, 13, 14. 20, 27, 

32. 35. 38-9, 169, 172, 175» 187 

Pan, the god, i 

Panics, psycholc^ of, 1-7 ; com- 
mercial, of 1866, 4; of 1907 
(American), 4 ; the First, 8-10 ; 
the Second, 11-19; the Third, 
20-40, 183 ; the Fourth, 41-58 ; 
the Fifth (Dreadnought), 59-102; 
the Sixth (Airship), 103-18 

Panics, The Three (Cobden), 38 

Paper Duties, 195 

Paris, Declaration of, 123, 125, 130 

Parliament Act, 94 

Parliament {see House of Commons, 
House of Lords) 

Parnell, 161 

Party loyalty, 167 

Peace, 175, 178, 254 

Peace Whigs, 180 

Pears, Sir Edwin, 136 

Pearson's Weekly, 145 

Peel, Sir Robert, 168-9, 189, 

Penny-a-liner, 149 

Pentelicus, 239 ^ 

Persians, i 

Phidippides, i 

Philosophical Radicals, 184, 193 

Pigou, the gunpowder maker, 9 

Piracy in sixteenth century, 121 

Pitt, 26, 168, 254 

Plaint of Peace, the (Erasmus), 133 

Political Economy {}A\\\), 184 

Poor Law (Minority Report), 252 

Portsmouth, 14. 113 



INDEX 



269 



Portsmouth, the Peril of, 16 

Potomac, 239 

Prentice, Mr. W., of Whitby, and 
••airship," 109 

Press, power of the, 2, 21, 27, 58, 
68, 86, 142-64 ; and armaments, 
60, 92, 252 {see also News- 
papers) 

Privateering, 120 

Prize money, 60, 93, 119-32 

Prophecy, unfulfilled, in Naval de- 
bates, 29, 71-100 

Protection, 15, 58, 94, 166, 196, 
201-8, 210-21 

Prussia, 203, 206 

Psapho, 155 

Public opinion, 35, 151 

Public Waste {see Extravagance) 

Putumayo, 122 

Quaker, 172, 189 
Queen Elizabeth, 24c 

Radicals, 160, 165, 169, 182, 252 

Railways, 225 

Ransom, doctrine of, 169 

Reade, Mr., and John Bright, 

197 
Reed, Sir Edward, 46 
Reform Bill of 1832, 172; of 1866, 

193 ; of 1884, 161 
Reform of Naval warfare, 59, 

119-32 

Retrenchment {see Economy) 

Reuter, 154 
Reutlingen, 199 
Rhampsinitus, 248 
Ricardo, 200 



Rifle Corps {see Volunteer move- 
ment) 
Rio de Janeiro, 72 
Roads and roadmaking, 224-5 
Robertson, Mr. Edmund, 64 
Robertson, Mr. J. M., 94 
Roberts, Lord, 62 
Rochdale, 172, i73. '74. 176, 186 
Rome, 193 
Romilly, I93 

Rosebery, Lord, 56, 59, 118 
Rosyth, 67, 88 
Rothschild, Lord, 92 
Rotterdam, 205 

Russia, 18, 20, 42, 65, 133. 141. 232 
Russell, Lord John, 9. I2» '3t ^ 

Saddleworth, 226 

St. George's Sound, 56 

St. Helena, 50 

St, /anus's Gatette, 145 

Salamis, 239 

Salisbury, Lord, 7, 45i 54» 5^. 161 ; 

opposes capture, 132 
Salonica, 238 

San Sebastian, storm of, lao 
Saxony, 203, 206 
Scarborough, 109 
Scobell, Captain, 21 
Scotland, 162-3 
Scotsman, 162 
Seely, Colonel, 107 
Selby, 104, 109 
Shelley, 193 
Shipbuilding and unemployment, 

44. 54 
Ships, exports of, 217-20 
Ships, large, 21, 60 
Ships, sailing and steam, 30 



tH 



S^. 



270 



THE SIX PANICS 



*' Shorthand '' reading, 148 

Siberia, 232 

Singapore, 50 

Simon, Sir J. A., 93; opposes 

capture, 132 
Sinking Fund, 56 
Smith, Adam, 184, 197-202, 206, 

224 
Smith, Mr. F. E., 93 ; on capture, 

131. 132 
Smith, Mr., and John Bright, 196 ^ 

Smith, Mr. W. H., 44, 52 

Socialists, 66 

Society, London, and panics, 14, 

35, 42, 58 ; and American Civil 

War, 183 
Sofia, 134, 223, 238 
Somerset, Duke of, 38, 42 
South African Garrison, 255-6 
South African War, 248 
South African Union, 255 
Southampton, 226 
Sffuth Wales Daily News^ 115 
SparU, I 
Speed, 222-^ 
Spence Watson, 187 
Spencer Walpole, 183 
Spies, 73 
Spithead, 20 
Standard, 95, 103 
Star Chamber Records (quoted), 

121 
Stead, Mr. W. T., 2, 41, 42, 44, 47 
Steam, 225-8 
Stephenson, 223 
Sterne, 236 
Stock Exchange, 143 
Stockport, 176 



Sub-editor, duties of, 147-54 
Submarine, 62 
Super-tax, 94 
Switzerland, 232 

Tangier, 153 

Tarift Reform {see Protection) 

Taxes on food (table), 102 

Tea-room party, 194 

Telegrams, foreign, 150-4 

Temperance, 174 

Territorials, 67 

Theatre, and war panic, 67 

Thrace, sufferings in Balkan War, 

135 
Thrift, 247 
Ticknor, Geoi^e, 226 
Time and Speed, 222-30 
Times, the, 8, 15, 17, 46, S*. 53, 

66, 146, 195, 211 
Tirpitz, Admiral von, 103 
Tit- Bits, 145 
Tobacco, in Balkans, 135 
Tories {see Conservatives) 
Torpedoes, 62 

Trade in Balkans ruined by war, 139 
Trafalgar, 33 
Tramways Act, 227 
Transvaal, 160 
Travel (see Foreign Travel) 
Treasury, 69, 352 
Trevelyan, Mr. George, 173 
Tribune, 144, 163 
Trieste, 205 

Truth about the Navy, 47 
Turkey, and armaments, 57; and 

Beaconsfield, 160; and Bright, 

174-5 



INDEX 



271 



Turks, sufferings of, in Thrace, 136, 

141 

Turnpikes, 225 

Two Power Standard, 56, 65, 74 

Unemployment and shipbuilding, 

44 

Unionist Party, 161, 165, 221 

United States {see America) 
Uskub, 238 

Van Antwerp, Mr., 5 
Vancouver's Island, 50 
Venice (Bright's letter from), 180 
Venus, the planet, mistaken for air- 
ship, 115 
Vienna, 238 
Volunteer movement of 1859, 35 

Wan-Street, 5 

War, 124, 133-41. 178 



War Office, 38. SL 73» 250, 257 

Waste, public {see Expenditure) 

Watt, 222 

Watts, Sir Philip, 62 

Wellington, Duke of, 8, 15 

West Indies, 16 

West Riding, 243, 245 

Whitby Gazette and airship panic, 

108 foil. 
Whitby, pirates at, 122 
Wood, Sir Charles, 31 
Wood, Martha, I73 
Wooden ships, 27, 37 
Wordsworth, 172 
Wtlrttemberg, 203 
Wyndham, Mr., 188 

York, 224 
Yorkshire Post, 144 

Zeppelins, 112, 117. "8 
Zollverein, 199-209 



tn>e Oresbam |>reM» 

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Fiction 



23 



Part III. — A Selection of Works of Fiction 



Albanesi (K M*ria}. SUSANNAH AND 

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Bailey (H. C). STORM AND TREASURE. 

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THE LONELY QUEEN. Third Edition. 

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BaHng-Qould (S.). IN THE ROAR 

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MARGERY OF QUETHER. Second 

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WINEFRED. Illustrated. Second Edition. 
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THE COUNTESS TEKLA. Fifth 
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THE MUTABLE MANY. Third Edition 
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Begbie (Harold). THE CURIOUS AND 
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Progress op an Open Mind. Second 
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Belloc (H.). EMMANUEL BURDEN, 
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Belloc-Lowndes (Mrs.). THE CHINK 

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A MAN FROM THE NORTH. A Hew 

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Birmingham (George A.). SPANISH 

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Gerard (Dorothea). HOLY MATRI- 
.VIONY. 

-TIE CONQUiS'f Oy LONDON. 
vlADE OF MONEV. 

Glsslng(G.). THE TOWN TRAVELLER. 
IHE CROWN OF LIFE. 



Glanvtlle (Ernest). 

TREASURE. 
THE KLOOF BRIDE. 



THE INCA'S 



Glelg (Charles). BUNTER'S CRUISE. 

Grimm (The Brothers). GRIM.M'S 
FAIRY TALES. 

Hope (Anthony). A MAN OF MARK. 

A CHANGE OF AIR. 

THE CHRONICLES OF COUNT 
ANTONIO. 

PHROSO. 

THE DOLLY DIALOGUES. 



Homung (B. W.). 
NO TALES. 



DEAD MEN TELL 



Hyne (C J. C J. PRINCE RUPERT THK 
BUCCANEER. 

Infraharo (J. H.). THE THRONE Of 
DAVID. 



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30 



Methuen and Company Limited 



U Quenx (W.), THE HUNCHBACK 

OF WESTMINSTER. 
THE CROOKED WAY. 
THE VALLEY OF THE SHADOW. 

Levett-Teats (S, K.). THE TRAITOR'S 

WAY. 
ORRAIN. 

Unton {E. Lynn). THE TRUE HIS- 
TORY OF JOSHUA DAVIDSON. 

LyaU (Edna). DERRICK VAUGHAN. 

Malet (Lueas). THE CARISSIMA. 
A COUNSEL OF PERFECTION. 

■ann (Mrs. M. E.). MRS. PETER 
HOWARD. 

A LOST ESTATE. 

THE CEDAR STAR. ^ : 

THE PATTEN EXPERIMENT. 

A WINTER'S TALE. 

■archmont (A. W.). MISER HOAD- 

LEY'S SECRt:T. 
A MOMENT'S ERROR. 

Marryat (Captain). PETCR SIMPLE. 

JACOB FAITHFUL. 

March (Richard). A METAMORPHOSIS. 

THE TWICKENHAM PEERAGS- 
THE GODDESS." 
THE JOSS. 

Mason (A. B. W.). CLEMENTINA. 

Mathers (Helen). HONEl?. 
GRIFF OF GRIFFITHSCOURT 
SAM'S SWEETHEART. 
THE FERRYMAN. 

Meade (Mrs. L. T.X DRIFT. 

MUler (Esther). LIVING LIES. 

MItford (Bertram). THE SIGN OF THE 
SPIDER. 



Montr«sor (F. P.). THE ALIEN. 

MprHson (Arthur). THE HOLE 
THE WALL. 



Mesbit (B.). THE RED HOUSE. 

Horrts (W. E.). HIS GRACE. 
GILES INGILBY. 
THE CREDIT OF THE COUNTY. 
LORD LEONARD THE LUCKLESS. 
MATTHEW AUSTEN. 
CLARISSA FURIOSA. 

OUphant (Mrs.). THE LADY'S WALK 
mi ItOBSJtrS rORTUNB. 



IN 



THE PRODIGALS. 
THE TWO MARYS. 

Oppenhelm (E. P.). MASTER OF MEN. 

Parker (Sir Gilbert). THE POMP OF 

THE LAVILETTES. 
WHEN VALMOND CAME TO PONTIAC 
THE TRAIL OF THE SWORD. 

Pemberton (Max). THE FOOTSTEPS 
OF A THRONE. 

I CROWN THEE KING. 

Phlllpotts (Eden). THE HUMAN BOY. 

CHILDREN OF THE MIST. 

THE POACHER'S WIFE. 

THE RIVER. 

'Q' (A. T. Qulller Coach). THE 
WHITE WOLF. 

mdffe(W.Pett). A SON or THE STATE. 

LOST PROPERTY. 

GEORGE aad THE GENERAL. 

A BREAKER OF LAWS. 

E^'Q. '. 

Russoll (W. Clark). ABANDONED. 
A MARRIAGE AT SEA. 
MY DANISH SWEETHEART. 
H;^ t51LA>D PRINCESS. 

Sergeant f Adelhie). THE MASTER OF 

HiiECHWoOD. 
BALBARA'S MONEY. 
THE YELLOW DIAMOND. 
THE LOVE THAT OVERCAME. 

Sidgrwlek (Mrs. Alfred). THE KINS- 

xMAN. 

Surtees (R. S.). HANDLEY CROSS. 
MR. SPONGE'S SPORTING TOUR. 
ASK MAMMA. 

Walford Mrs. L. B.), MR. SMITtt 

COUSINS. 

THE BABY'S GRANDMOTHER. 

TROUBLESOME DAUGHTERS. 

Wallace (General Lew). BEN-HUR. 

THE FAIR GOD. 

Watson (H. B. Marriott); THE ADVEN- 
TURERS. 

CAPTAIN FORTUNE. 

Weekes (A. B.). PRISONERS OF WAR. 

Wells (H. G.). THE SEA LADY. 

Whitby (Beatrice). THE RESULT OF 
ANAXiDENr. 



A PASSIONATE PIL- 
WUlIamson (Mpt. C H.)- PAPA. 



White (Percy). 
GRIM. 



FKINTEO BT 

ONWIN BXOTHKK8, LIMITKO, 

LONDON AND WOKINO. 



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